The science behind the stink. Asparagus pee. But why does asparagus make your pee smell bad?
Have you eaten asparagus and noticed that it can alter how your urine smells? Why do certain foods change our urine and does it make a difference to our health? Observations of how what we eat can affect our pee can be traced back through history, from the ancient Greeks including Antiphon and Theophrastes to an early edition of the medical journal The Lancet in
It's an accepted fact that asparagus makes your pee smell funky, but have you ever stopped to question why? You should! It's a completely harmless occurrence, but that doesn't make the reasons behind it any less interesting.
The question: I love asparagus, but every time I eat it, my urine reeks afterward. What gives? The expert: Ketul Shah, M.
I love asparagus. When I met my husband, the only vegetables I ever ate were green beans, peas, or corn — and rarely at that. All from cans.
Deny this all you like, but those green stalks contain something called asparagusic acid, among a couple other compounds, that gives urine that unique odor. As your body digests food, it breaks down different compounds through the enzymatic process. In the case of asparagus, its compounds are volatile and released as a vapor through the urine.
Your daily diet makes a big difference in the way you feel, but it also plays a part when it comes to your body odor. Without a doubt, certain foods impact the pungency of your urine more than others. Hello, asparagus.
Some people notice their urine has a distinctive odor after eating asparagus. Often described as sulfurous or similar to cooked cabbage, the scent is due to the body's reaction to natural compounds found in the green stalks. If you've never eaten asparagus or are unfamiliar with the "asparagus pee" phenomenon, smelling that odor for the first time could be quite alarming. However, it is normal, though not all people experience it.
After eating asparagus, some people can detect a strange smell, while others claim not to notice a thing. But data is not the plural of anecdote, so more evidence is needed. So what we need are laboratory experiments.
Humans have known for a long time that asparagus makes our pee smell. While ancient Romans certainly ate and loved their asparagusthe first to record the vegetable's tendency to add a stench to urine was an 18th century physician to the French royal family. All of this is to say, the after effects of asparagus have been a well-documented phenomenon through history.