You sweat what you eat

Editorial July 11, 2019

CURIOSITIES

The editorial team at The Secret Life of Skin.

It is likely that we have all reached for a breath mint after too much coffee or a particularly garlic-infused lunch. But, have you ever wondered if what you are eating affects more than just your breath?

A recent article by Joe Schwarcz, Director McGill Office for Science and Society, shows how the food we eat directly impacts our body odour – we can quite literally sweat what we eat! There are a number of different factors that impact human body odour, like food ingested or numerous metabolic reactions occurring in our body. [1]

An example of this can be seen in people that have diabetes. They suffer from a lack of insulin, this causes the body to use fat instead of glucose for energy – fat metabolites like acetone can show up in your breath and sweat.

This flow of compounds through our blood and lymphatic system are apparent in our breath and body odour (BO)…. However fear not, most compounds found in the sweat of healthy people are not volatile enough to produce a smell until they are broken down in simpler molecules by bacteria on our skin.

So, as it’s bacteria that plays a key role in making those compounds volatile enough to be smelt, rather than reaching for a stronger deodorant we may just need to look after our bacteria instead.

[1] https://mcgill.ca/oss/article/health/what-makes-body-odour

 

 

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