Showing posts with label Volatile Compounds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volatile Compounds. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Smell of Stress and Fear

Can we recognize if people around us are stressed, anxious or fearful without observing their facial expressions, body language and actions or hearing their voice and messages? Can we understand if we are stressed ourselves without assessing our heart rate, blood pressure, noticing dry throat, sweating, drops or surges in energy? Yes, we can - by using our nose - as humans, too, recognize and transmit their emotions through chemical senses.

When we are stressed or panic we become more sensitive to odors (Buróna et al., 2015), ranking neutral odors as unpleasant (Krusemark et al, 2013). Chronic stress will actually dull the senses (Yuan & Slotnick, 2013), but that's another story.

When other people are stressed, we can feel it without seeing or hearing them. Numerous experiments showed that we can recognize emotions from sweat alone. We might not be able to tell why, but experience sympathy by smelling odors of those taking exams vs just exercising on a bike (Prehn-Kristensen et al 2009), become more cooperative when smelling hard work, more submissive when detecting that other people's health status prioritizes their needs, more fearful when detecting chemical clues coming from people watching horror movies (Zhou and Chen, 2009, de Groot et al., 2012) and exhibit risk taking behavior when detecting other people's anxieties (Haegler et al, 2010).

What is the exact chemistry of stress, anxiety and fear? We are getting close to deciphering it. Stress, for example, might be recognized by six biomarkers, including indole and 2-methyl-pentadecane (Turner et al, 2013) that are also indicators of COPD (Martinez-Lozano Sinues et al, 2014) and heart disease

Correlating chemicals to health and wellness conditions is not easy. Acetone in breath, for example, has attracted the interest of clinical researchers for more than 60 years. Several dozen independent studies using various techniques and methods showed that much more complex analysis is required with long-term measurements of various health and environmental indicators including diet, treatments and prior medical history (Dowlaty, Yoon, and Galassetti, 2013). Aurametrix provides an integrated platform for such analysis, but until we sift through all the data, if you are stressed out, just take a deep breath and relax. Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.


REFERENCES

Haegler, K., Zernecke, R., Kleemann, A., Albrecht, J., Pollatos, O., Brückmann, H., & Wiesmann, M. (2010). No fear no risk! Human risk behavior is affected by chemosensory anxiety signals Neuropsychologia, 48 (13), 3901-3908 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.09.019


Prehn-Kristensen A, Wiesner C, Bergmann TO, Wolff S, Jansen O, Mehdorn HM, Ferstl R, & Pause BM (2009). Induction of empathy by the smell of anxiety. PloS one, 4 (6) PMID: 19551135

Dowlaty N, Yoon A, & Galassetti P (2013). Monitoring states of altered carbohydrate metabolism via breath analysis: are times ripe for transition from potential to reality? Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 16 (4), 466-72 PMID: 23739629

de Groot JH, Smeets MA, Kaldewaij A, Duijndam MJ, & Semin GR (2012). Chemosignals communicate human emotions. Psychological science, 23 (11), 1417-24 PMID: 23019141

Krusemark EA, Novak L, Gitelman D, Li W. (2013) When the sense of smell meets emotion: Anxiety-state-dependent olfactory processing and neural circuitry adaptation. Journal of Neuroscience. 33(39):15324 –15332.

Martinez-Lozano Sinues P, Meier L, Berchtold C, Ivanov M, Sievi N, Camen G, Kohler M, Zenobi R Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases [2014, 87(4):301-310] PMID: 25545545

Yuan TF, Slotnick BM. Roles of olfactory system dysfunction in depression. (2014) Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 54:26-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.05.013. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Inhale and feel it with your heart

All you need is love. Or failing that chocolate.
And not only because dark chocolate could lower the risk of heart disease, blood pressure and sugar levels. As Dr. Schieberle's team recently discovered that heart could sense and enjoy the sweet smell of chocolate too. When they put small odor-emitting molecules from chocolate on one side of a dish, cells actually moved towards the aroma.

The heart, the lungs, the blood, the sperm and testis all have the abilities to recognize chemicals responsible for smells. Genomic studies (Deldmesser et al, 2006) showed that many tissues have working genes responsible for the perception of flavors. Sperm of sea urchines is able to recognize the odor and swim toward the egg. Human sperm might very well be capable of "smelling" their way to the egg too. And white blood cells sense the odors of bacteria to rush to the site of infection in the wound. Unfortunately, cancer cells can also sense their way out of the tumor in the direction of blood vessels, leading to metastasis. Smells can guide social preferences, trigger positive or negative memories, help to lose weight, reduce anxiety or give you nightmares. Smells can make or brake, kill or heal. They can have therapeutic or diagnostic use helping to understand gene-environment health paradigms and paving new avenues for future health care strategies.

REFERENCES

Feldmesser E, Olender T, Khen M, Yanai I, Ophir R, & Lancet D (2006). Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes. BMC genomics, 7 PMID: 16716209

Schieberle P, & Molyneux RJ (2012). Quantitation of sensory-active and bioactive constituents of food: A Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry perspective. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60 (10), 2404-8 PMID: 22369090

Schieberle P., Do cells in the blood, heart and lungs smell the food we eat? 245th  Chemistry of Energy and Food, National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, New Orleans, LA, April 7-11, 2013



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Come out smelling like a rose

You are what you eat. And you smell like your food. Well, it's actually a bit more complicated - as we emit complex combinations of volatile chemicals produced from food by our own metabolic system as well as microbes that call us home. Same foods can be translated into a wide range of odors, depending on the individual. People exhibit a large variety of smells, much more diverse than animals or plants. Thanks to variations in our digestive enzymes, diets, supplements, medicines, perfumes, detergents, clothes, cars and a lot of other chemicals we are exposed to via different routes. And there are many ways to smell of a rose - for example, by putting a few petals in the pocket, wearing Sa Majeste La Rose or drinking rose oil.
Come out smelling like a rose
As confirmed by gas-chromatograph mass spectrometry using a thermo desorption system and a selective ion mode (Akiyama et al., 2006), linalool, citronellol and geraniol, which are the main components of rose essential oil, are emitted from our palms after an oral intake of rose oil. The aroma starts to increase 30 minutes after ingestion and reaches its peak within an hour, then slowly decreases, wearing off more than 100 times in the next 6 hours. Citronellol seems to evaporate the fastest, and linalool lingers a little longer than the other two compounds, but, of course, this may very well differ for different individuals.

A new "functional food" - Deo Perfume Candy  - is an attempt to take the sciences of smells and foods to a whole new level by creating a sweet treat intended to make you smell good. The main active ingredient of this candies is Geraniol. It is extracted from rose oil, which in its turn is extracted from real rose petals - one gram of oil per two thousand petals. Small amounts of citric acid and tangerine oil are added for more flavor. An healthy food company Beneo partnered with Bulgarian candy maker, Alpi, to develop this nutricosmetics  treat. At present it is sold exclusively on Amazon and has already collected 5 reviews - ranging from a praise of the observed fresh-just-showered smell to complaints of the need to eat a buck load of candies to see some kind of effect. Does it really work? It might for some of us. With the right chemistry and metabolism, and the right combination of everything else. You can enter it in Aurametrix as Deo Perfume Candy and check back later to see how it worked for others. Or just log what you normally eat and wear to find how your body could react to Geraniol.

You might want to compare it with “Fuwarinka” or Otoko Kaoru's chewing gum - despite a name that translates to "man smell" it also contains rose-flavored geraniol. Although one tester reported to smell like an apple-flavored soap after chewing it.  You can also experiment with the "coming soon" edible perfume from Netherlands, and its mystery ingredient. There will be more to come.

The possibilities are endless and so are the human odor outcomes.

REFERENCES

AKIYAMA, A., IMAI, K., ISHIDA, S., ITO, K., KOBAYASHI, T., NAKAMURA, H., NOSE, K., & TSUDA, T. (2006). Determination of Aromatic Compounds in Exhalated from Human Skin by Solid-Phase Micro Extraction and GC/MS with Thermo Desorption System BUNSEKI KAGAKU, 55 (10), 787-792 DOI: 10.2116/bunsekikagaku.55.787

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chemicals in food affecting body odor

Volatile compounds (complex organic and simple like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia), together with sugars and acids, are the main chemicals determining the characteristic aroma of food, as well as odors related to human body.

The bad smells are generally the result of a combination of odorous sulfur compounds and ammonia.

Volatile sulfur compounds are produced through bacterial metabolism of sulfur amino acids such as cysteine and methionine. High sulfur content in food is another source.

Choline  - a quaternary saturated amine  - can lead to increases in the amount of trimethylamine responsible for sweet and sickly, fish-like smell.

How to estimate the amount of choline, sulfur and sulfur-containing aminoacids in your food?
You can do it easily with Aurametrix.
Watch these videos:



Monday, February 1, 2010

Foods and Smells

Kagome started as a tomato grower, and its mai...Image via Wikipedia
How many flavors are out there? We often hear only about these five - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory (umami), but there are so many more and they are important not only to our tastes but also health.
Remember that fresh grassy smell wafting up from the newly sliced tomato? It may be it's way of saying  "I'm good for you".
Stephen A. Goff and Harry J. Klee's article "Plant Volatile Compounds: Sensory Cues for Health and Nutritional Value?" published in a 2006 issue of Science explains why odors from foods may be nutritional or health signals that the human nose has learned to recognize.
Among the things emmigrants from less developed countries miss in USA is the scent of fresh tomatoes. One of the volatile compounds associated with the “grassy” tomato flavor, cis-3-Hexenal, is also an indicator of fatty acids essential to the human diet. Wild tomato contained more than three times the amount of that chemical than the cultivated version in the developed world. Two other contributors to tomato flavor — 2- and 3-methylbutanal — are indicators of the presence of essential amino acids and are also three times more common in the wild tomato. Same applies to commercial apples, strawberries, bread, cheese, even wine and beer.
Flavorful curcumin in tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties, compounds in ginger have antioxidants, and there are antimicrobial chemicals that contribute to the scent of onions, garlic, rosemary, sage, clove, mustard, chili peppers and thyme.
There are hundreds of volatile compounds in foods and beverages, often a major factor in how taste of foods is perceived.
What smells people enjoy the most?
Joanne Camas from Epicurious.com lists these 5 food smells:

1. Fried onions cooking
2. Banana bread baking (extra points if it has chocolate chips in it)
3. A perfectly ripe tomato as you slice into it, especially on a warm, sunny day
4. Coffee brewing
5. Garlic bread, fresh out of the oven
Most people commenting on this post listed baked breads and coffee as their top favorites too. Other choices include pies, spices and meats.


Here are some of the responses pulled from different blogs. What are your top five?
chefrosey 12:23:21 PM on 02/01/10
Chocolate
Fresh brewed coffee
Fresh baked bread
Fresh picked strawberries or an orange being peeled!
Any baked good coming out of the oven!
chef330 12:14:17 PM on 02/01/10
1. Onions sauteeing in butter
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies coming out of the oven
3. Just-picked peaches
4. Hot Apple Pie
5. European Butter - you can smell the flavor


Janet Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:22pm PST

apple pie baking in the oven
tralala311 Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:25pm PST

mmmm... GUMBO!!!
Habanero♥™ Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:32pm PST

Bacon, Baking Bread, Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, Molasses Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls.

Sherri Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:53pm PST

Coffee brewing, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cinnammon Rolls, Bread, Pumkin Pie
__A_YAHOO_USER__ Wed Feb 3, 2010 9:21am PST
i think there's something about a roast that's been slow cooking all day that smells delicious, it'd be on my top 5 for sure.
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