Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Studying body odor: one step at a time

Unpleasant body odors could be a sign of a disease. But even when the cause of the disease is known - an example is trimethylaminuria or TMAU - there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Elimination of choline and other essential nutrients from diet can be harmful and unhelpful.  Everyone has their own unique needs, with individual combinations of foods, activities and optimal environmental conditions.

An earlier survey of about 100 body odor and halitosis sufferers indicated stress (34%), food (25%) and environment, including the weather and perfumed products (15%) as main triggers of odors. 23% of sufferers did not know what the trigger was.

Our study seems to have less unknowns. As you see from the picture, 60% of participants have both body odor and halitosis. Only 22% of participants were diagnosed with TMAU, one third has IBS, one third has environmental sensitivities (mostly pollen and mold allergies, but some have dust mite and pet allergies and chemical sensitivities). Over 60% of participants reported sensitivities to specific foods. Most frequent was lactose sensitivity.

It is known that a specific diet, infections and diseases have major impact on variations in human body odor.  Some of our early results on fatty and ammonia types of odors identified a few food ingredients and their maldigestion as potential causes. Our next posts on musty and smoky odors, as well as unpleasant odors in general will tell more.

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And stay tuned for results!

Jan Havlicek, & Pavlina Lenochova (2008). Environmental effects on human body odour Chemical Signals in Vertebrates DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-73945-8_19

Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness Chemical Senses, 31 (8), 747-752 DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjl017

Moshkin M, Litvinova N, Litvinova EA, Bedareva A, Lutsyuk A, Gerlinskaya L. Scent Recognition of Infected Status in Humans. J Sex Med. 2011 Dec 6. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02562.x.


  1. Actually, my Orange County dentist has linked halitosis (or bad breath) to diseases. According to him, it may not be the problem in itself but rather a complication of another more serious illness.

  2. It's good that your doctor is so attentive. The exact type of odor could help diagnose the problem.

  3. My emergency dentist new york would agree with this research. Halitosis is caused by poor oral hygiene, that’s why I make it a point that I visit my dentist to prevent major problems that may occur in the future.

  4. I think spicy food can help odor. Sweating also create odor....orange county cosmetic dentist

  5. I admit that I had halitosis years ago and it is something that we should not be shy with. Acceptance is the first step, consulting a dentist is next. I was diagnosed with halitosis and it was because of tooth decay. It was beyond repair and after I got inexpensive dental implants to replace the "bad" teeth, the foul odor coming from my mouth went away.

    Geoff Granfeld Jr

  6. We mustn't forget to take good care of our personal hygiene. One of the things you can do is to only eat healthy foods aside from this, taking a bath regularly and, proper dental care follows.

    -Derrick Patterson

  7. As a person who hates dentists-- this whole office makes you feel like part of the family! Making you comfortable and explaining everything.dental implant Oakville