Bacterial growth mixed with perspiration is the most common source of body odor. However, if you bathe regularly, several other smelly factors–including what you most recently ate (or didn’t eat), the medications you pop, and what products you use to mask the noxious smells emanating from under your arm pits can actually answer the question, “What’s that smell?” when you get a whiff of something most foul.
If you’re in the habit of any of the following nine sneaky body odor sources—then the answer is almost certainly, “Yes, it’s you who smells!”…
1. You Use the Wrong Deodorant
You might consider it counterproductive that the products you spend money on to mask the reek of stinky body odor can actually exacerbate the smell. However, many store-bought body sprays, antiperspirants, and deodorants foster the development of foul-smelling bacteria.
A study conducted by microbial ecologists at the University of Ghent, in Belgium monitored the armpit bacteria of a group of male and female participants—half of the group swore off deodorant and antiperspirant for an entire month while the other non-deodorant-using half agreed to apply it for a month. Researchers found that the aluminum compounds present in deodorants and antiperspirants killed off killing off good (or non-smelly) bacteria and encouraged the growth of bad (or foul-smelling) armpit bacteria.
2. You Take Prescription Medications
According to the Mayo Clinic, a few over-the-counter and prescription medications—including Tylenol (or acetaminophen and certain antidepressants (i.e., Bupropion Hydrochloride or Wellbutrin)—can encourage excess perspiration and foul smelling bacterial growth as drugs are metabolized by the body.
However, if a new prescription happens to correspond with an accelerated rate of perspiration/ and or intensifies foul body odor, it’s always safest to talk to your doctor before ceasing the medication.
3. You Eat Too Much Refined Sugar
Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology, claims that what we can affect how we smell. For instance, too much refined sugar can emit funky armpit odor as well as expand the waistline. This is due to an overgrowth of yeast, which converts sugars into a rancid alcohol byproduct.
In fact, when the refined sugars in junk food alter the balance of your sweat and combine with armpit bacteria, bad body odor can result. Fortunately, Dr. Jaliman points out that banishing refined sugar from your diet will also banish bad BO.
4. You’re Vitamin Deficient
In 1928, Dr. Pierre Delbet, the famed Superintendent of the Cancer Institute, in Paris, discovered that the mineral magnesium had the power to banish bad body door. However, those deficient in magnesium often suffered from bad body odor.
Dr. Delbet reported that “If [patient] diets contained nothing particularly toxic, [a magnesium supplement] deodorizes…disagreeable odor.” Dr. Delbet found that eating foods rich in magnesium (i.e., raw almonds and cashews, flax and sesame seeks, dark chocolate, and bran) altered human intestinal flora and resulted in a decreased body smell.
5. You Dig Cruciferous Veggies
Many of us are aware of the digestive upset and foul-smelling gas that results from a hearty serving of cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli when this line-up of cruciferous veggies, or rather the sulfur compounds within, are absorbed by the body.
According to researchers at the American Academy of Dermatology, a mere hour after eating cruciferous veggies, the body will absorb the sulfur compounds and give off a pungent odor as the body secrets them via the sweat glands. Fortunately, you can still get a serving of healthy veggies if you parboil them, a process that eliminates the majority of odor-producing sulfur.
6. You Slurp Too Much Caffeine and Alcohol
Researchers at Columbia University’s Health Services point to excess caffeine and alcohol consumption as the reason for foul-smelling body odor (not to mention bad breath). Why?
Coffee not only accelerates your rate of perspiration it’s also extremely acidic. While we don’t need to remind you how you smell after a night of binge drinking. In an attempt to improve your body odor, try eliminating or cutting down on alcohol and caffeinated beverages in favor of herbal tea.
7. You’re a Carnivore Through and Through
I’m an admitted carnivore. However, I eat red meat in moderation for one very good reason—it makes me stink! According to E. Adam Kallel, a medicinal chemist at Victrix Computational and Medicinal Chemistry Consultancy, in Carlsbad, California, red meat is more difficult to digest.
This means the body uses more effort to metabolize red meat. As a result you sweat more, digest at a much slower rate, and emit foul-smelling gases via flatulence and sweat. Red meat is also high in amino acids that leave a residue in your intestines during digestion. When emitted, the residue mingles with skin bacteria and intensifies bad odor.
8. Ouch—You’re Constipated!
We all know the importance of a diet rich in fiber. Too little can leave you with blocked digestion, uncomfortable constipation, and according to the National Institutes of Health, with surprisingly stinky body odor.
In cases of severe constipation, toxins released by the digestive system may seep through the pores, exposing “fecal body odor,” which is made up of toxic by-products that the body needs to release by any means to prevent illness and disease.
9. That Low Carb Diet
Oh sure, you cut carbohydrates in an honest attempt to drop unwanted pounds. However, you didn’t expect lack of essential carbohydrates would cause such stanky body odor.
A 2014 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, linked law carb diets (or those who glean less than 50-percent of their calories from carbohydrates) with some foul-smelling side effects. Not only does a lack of carbohydrates and an increase in protein intake cause the body to release ketones into your bloodstream, causing rank breath—lack of carbs causes strong-smelling urine and terrible body odor.