Sweating It Out…But With An Awful Odor?

It’s a rather delicate topic to cover, but let’s face it, we’ve either experienced it ourselves, or second-hand from a friend, family member or co-worker: an unpleasant body odor.

I’m not just talking about an unfavorable scent that emanates from one’s pores during a workout at the gym or a hard run on the trails, but a seemingly constant smell that’s really difficult to ignore.

It can be puzzling; perhaps the person with the issue has very good hygiene, bathes regularly, and all other outward appearances would make  it inconsistent with the simple fact that they just don’t smell that great.

What’s going on?

Well, as with everything, we need to look inside.  

Similar to when someone has an issue with a skin condition and doesn’t factor in their diet, addressing a body odor problem without thinking about what one eats is not taking a comprehensive approach.

Wearing a stronger deodorant/anti-perspirant or even more drastic, having surgery to control ‘over active sweat glands’ is not the answer.

What’s the person eating?  

  • If someone follows the Standard American Diet, it’s quite likely that they’d have an acidic pH.   Body odor, as well as chronic bad breath, can be a symptom of acidic conditions in the body because your skin and lungs are emitting excess acidity.
  • If someone were to follow the Paleo diet incorrectly, and not balance out their macro nutrients ratio to create a net alkaline diet, they, too, could show signs of another internal issue going on:   ketoacidosis, which  is a condition in which abnormal quantities of ketones are produced in an unregulated biochemical situation. In order to reach a state of ketoacidosis, the body has to be in a state of not producing enough insulin to regulate the flow of fatty acids and the creation of ketone bodies.    (This is not to be confused with benign dietary ketosis is a controlled, insulin regulated process which results in a mild release of fatty acids and ketone body production in response to low carbohydrate intake, and higher fat consumption.)    Either can result in a foul odor, almost ammonia-like as well as a metallic taste in one’s mouth.
  • Another issue that can factor largely into one’s body odor is whether or not they’re taking prescription medications which can also significantly alter blood chemistry and resulting body odor.
  • Also, we need to address average hours slept and anxiety levels, both of  which can affect cortisol, which can make you sweat. While sweat alone isn’t stinky, sometimes, when added to the bacteria that lives on your skin, the resulting mix can be quite unpleasant.
  • Finally, hydration levels should be factored in.

If you cannot make heads or tails of it, don’t just cover it up with a band aid in the form of an under arm guard or extra deodorant.  Check with your naturopath or functional medicine doctor and get to the cause of it, rather than just treating the symptom.

Always better to get to the source!