Alcohol and Caffeine
When you drink, your liver metabolizes most of the alcohol and excretes it through your urine. But if you drink too much or too fast, your liver can’t process the amount of alcohol. Your body releases the excess alcohol through your breath and pores, creating an unpleasant body odor.
Caffeine can also affect your body odor. Coffee is a diuretic that makes you feel thirsty. The resulting dry mouth can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and unpleasant odor. Most coffee drinks are also hot, which can raise your body temperature and make you sweat more.
Antiperspirants don’t prevent body odor like deodorants do. Their primary purpose is to block your sweat ducts from producing sweat. But one study found that antiperspirants have the potential to increase the amount of odor-causing bacteria in the armpits, leading to a spike in body odor.
This one might seem obvious. But regardless of whether you exercised or not, skipping daily showers causes bacteria to build up on the skin.
High Stress Levels
Stress sweat comes from a different type of gland than regular sweat.
When you’re stressed, your increased heart rate and surge in body temperature cause you to sweat. Your apocrine glands secrete an odorless white, milky fluid that consists of water, proteins and fats. This liquid mixes with the bacteria on your skin to produce B.O.
Certain medical conditions cause you to produce more sweat and body odor than normal.
- Diabetes: Diabetes patients often experience a sudden change in smell or body odor. High levels of blood glucose and more frequent urinary tract infections can increase body odor and bad breath.
- Hyperthyroidism: When you have an overactive thyroid, your body produces an abundance of sweat, even if you aren’t exerting yourself. Increased body odor often accompanies excessive sweat.
- Genetic Disorders: While rare, gene mutations can also affect body odor. Trimethylaminuria is a condition where your body can’t break down the chemical compound, trimethylamine. This chemical gives fish its
People with a higher body mass tend to sweat more. Fat insulates the body and raises its core temperature, causing increased sweat production and a higher risk of body odor. Obesity can also decrease airflow in sweaty areas, giving odor-causing bacteria a perfect climate to breed.
Certain foods can intensify unpleasant body odor.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain sulfur, which your body absorbs and secretes through your sweat glands.
Spicy Foods: Spices like curry and cumin can get trapped in your pores and emit a strong, unpleasant odor.
Refined Sugar: Foods high in refined sugar can lead to yeast overgrowth. Having an abundance of intestinal yeast causes sugars to convert into alcohols that contribute to B.O.
Fish: Certain fish like salmon and tuna contain choline, a member of the B-complex vitamin family that emits a naturally fishy smell. Some people who eat a serving of fish will secrete choline in their sweat for up to a day.
Red Meat: The amino acids in red meat leave behind a residue in your intestines. Internal enzymes break down the residue, which then mixes with bacteria on your skin and intensifies your body odor when you sweat.
No-Carb or Low-Carb Diet: When you cut back on carbs, your body starts burning fat for energy. This process produces a chemical that can make your sweat smell like nail polish remover or fruity.