Why You Smell

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Your grandmother was fond of saying that “Men sweat; women perspire,” but no matter what kind of linguistic cachet you may hide behind, there's no concealing the fact that, often times, you stink. Here are a few surprising reasons why:

Stress not only kills, it makes you smell. When you exercise or become overheated, your sweat emanates from your eccrine glands, which are found just under your skin all over your body. But when you sweat from stress, anxiety or sexual arousal, it's your apocrine glands that do the work. These are found in just certain areas of your body (under your arms is one place) and pump out a variety of fatty substances and proteins, in addition to water and salt. These other substances interact with bacteria on your skin to create body odor. That's why you need not just an antiperspirant (which containsaluminum to block the sweat pores) but also a deodorant, which contains antimicrobials to kill those bacteria on your skin before they get a chance to interact with your sweat.

Insufficient nutrition can make your body odor worse. The results of a French study conclude that a dietary deficiency in magnesium results in unpleasant smells which are quickly alleviated through supplementation with magnesium chloride.

Your body can also react unpleasantly to sufficient nutrition. Even if you're getting enough of the right foods to eat, your body may not be able to properly metabolize certain foods containing a lot of choline. These include liver, fish, eggs and legumes. The condition is genetic, and is known as trimethylaminuria. Fortunately, there is a solution: studies have shown that activated charcoal along with copper chlorophyll supplements may help to eliminate or greatly reduce the unpleasant “fishy” odor.

How your food is cooked can also contribute to the stench of your personal space. The oils in fried and baked goods can rapidly become rancid causing poor digestion and, consequently, body odor.

Sweets make yeast! Candida, which is a yeast-like fungus that lives in your body and performs useful functions, can grow to excessive size in spaces such as your mouth, intestines and vagina when feeding on refined sugar. Cut back on foods that number sugar as a main ingredient to keep the smelly yeast in check.

Be mindful of the stinky side effects of those pills you are popping. Any number of diet pills, pain relievers, allergy meds, antidepressants and birth control pills number increased sweating or body odor as “known side effects.”