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What Causes Ammonia Body Odor

Updated on February 15, 2011

Cause and Cure Body Odor

Everybody sweats. It's a natural bodily function to want to cool itself. Unfortunately, all body odor is not created equal. Body odor that is reminiscent of ammonia is quite unpleasant to have. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this condition. To understand and treat the smell of ammonia body odor, you must first understand about ammonia and the bodily processes that produce it.

Ammonia is a nitrogen breakdown product of amino acids within the body. As you may or may not know, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. If your body uses theses amino acids in for energy instead of the normal use of carbohydrates, nitrogen atoms will be chemically stripped of the amino acid molecules. The kidneys process this stripped nitrogen atom and then form urea for excretion. It is when your kidneys cannot handle the overload of urea that this nitrogen is excreted through your skin in your sweat, as ammonia.

How to stop ammonia body odor

Not surprisingly, our body odor is affected by what we eat. Eat too much protein and no carbohydrates and you will suffer from ammonia-smelling sweat. The best way to make sure you do not smell like ammonia when you sweat is to include enough carbohydrates in your diet for exercise fuel. This includes eating a healthy pre-workout snack full of carbohydrates and healthy fat. After you exercise, replenish the lost carbs, fats, and protein that you just burned off and used for energy.

A common belief is that if you smell like ammonia, then you are breaking down muscle protein. This is not true, the ammonia excreted is simply caused by the urea overload. By looking at what you eat before you exercise, you can change your odor and not smell like ammonia forever. Remember, bathing is an easy way to overcome body odor too. If you do smell like ammonia, just simply shower immediately following your workout and reapply deodorant.

You can also sweat ammonia if you have not exercised. Anytime you are eating too much protein and your body is burning amino acids for energy, you run the risk of smelling like ammonia. Follow these simple steps, and you should be on your way to smelling like roses. Well, maybe not roses, but at least better than ammonia.


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