To understand how body odor works, it’s important to understand how sweat glands work. Human beings have two types of sweat glands. The first is located everywhere on the body and all across the skin. This sweat gland is predominantly evident on the palms of the hands, under the arms, and on the forehead. This gland is called the Eccrine sweat gland and it does not tend to contribute toward body odor in any fashion. Normally, the secretions of this sweat gland are limited to water and salt. The sweat glands that contribute to body odor are the Apocrine sweat glands. These sweat glands are located in the groin area, around the belly button, the axillae (under the arms), and around the breasts.
The Apocrine sweat glands do not develop until puberty, and this is the reason children don’t tend to have body odor issues. Apocrine sweat glands secrete wastes from the body in the way of proteins and fats (lipids), but this type of sweat does not have a smell to it in and of itself. Located around these sweat glands as well, are microorganisms that live on normal, healthy skin. These microorganisms consume the proteins and lipids that are secreted by the Apocrine sweat glands and it is this process that causes body odor.
The body odor produced isn’t always noxious to the human nose. A primary contributing factor to offensive body odor is the food humans ingest. Red meat has long been known to make for an impressive breeding ground for horrible smells, but there are other types of foods that can contribute to these odors. The problem is that it’s not really known what these foods typically are. Science has determined that a substance called "Ama" is one of the usual suspects that contribute to heavy body odor.
So, what is Ama? Ama is undigested foods that then find their way into the bloodstream and act as a toxin of sorts. Eventually, these are purged from the system via the Apocrine sweat glands and they do have an body odor of their own that is enhanced, or made even more smelly, by the flora that begins to consume them almost immediately. It’s not really understood on how to make this particular process go away. Due to the fact that Ama is created by undigested food, it is suggested to avoid overeating and stop eating foods that the body has a hard time processing if you are trying to eliminate heavy body odor.
If a person has been deemed lactose intolerant, they could avoid not only the gastrointestinal suffering, but possibly stop an increase in body odor from ingesting dairy products. However, this is almost purely conjecture since science hasn’t really gone beyond identifying undigested food as a culprit in bad body odor. Try to keep your calories to a reasonable amount, and if worse body odor is noticed after ingesting certain types of food, try avoiding these foods all together for a while to see if the issue starts to go away.
If the issue persists after eliminating possible food culprits such as strong spices, red meat, dairy, or any other food that might be the culprit, it could be time to see a doctor. If a person’s sweat smells sweet or even fruity, this could be indicative of a diabetes issue that the person may not be aware of. If the sweat smells a bit like bleach or ammonia, then it could indicate a liver or kidney problem. In either of these cases, the issue should be brought to the attention of a doctor so that further testing can be done. A person’s diet will usually be a contributing factor in the worsening of a liver and kidney issue or with diabetes.
The things a person ingests, whether it happens to be too much of any given food or a food that affects one of the conditions mentioned above, may be a factor when it comes to noxious body odors. Use clean, exfoliation products on the body and a pumice stone on the feet to clear away excess skin and secretions, employ deodorant, and adjust food intakes to help eliminate some of the smells. If methods aren’t enough to control body odor, then consult a doctor for medical solutions to whatever might be causing the problem.Last Updated: Saturday, January 7, 2012