Conventional wisdom suggests that perspiration is the cause of body odor. However, perspiration by itself is basically odorless, but it is the bacteria and odors coming from other sources that are the real culprits.
Causes and Development
, which flourish when your body doesn't have enough oxygen, may well be the cause of your body odor. As the body's metabolism goes to work, it gives off odors which is the body's way of ridding itself of waste products. Any imbalances in metabolism will result in stronger odors.
Waste products can also be the result of toxins that accumulate in our bodies. In today's world we are bombarded with toxins in our homes, food, and air that accumulate in the body when the organs of elimination cannot dispose of them. The liver
and intestines may be clogged up, causing odors to emanate from the body. In this case, a thorough detoxification program that cleanses the liver, kidneys
may be useful.
Dietary imbalances, resulting in constipation
or a deficiency of magnesium
may be other causes of body odor. Because of different body chemistries, some people who eat large quantities of meat or who are vegetarians
have a very distinctive body odor which can be quite offensive. Some individuals cannot metabolize foods containing large amounts of choline
, such as eggs, fish, liver
and legumes. The result is a "fishy" smell. If you are one of these people, cut out these products and see if this is the cause of your odor. Certain foods and drinks, such as onions, garlic, curry, certain spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, are also prime causes. Fried and baked goods may contain rancid fats and oils that lead to body odor.
Sweat glands (apocrine
glands) under the arms and in the groin secrete a substance that is the major non-food/drink related cause of body odor. This substance, which contains protein, carbohydrates
, is often secreted by a surge in sex hormones caused by tense moments or emotional stress. It is then quickly attacked by bacteria
, causing odor.
Some other possible cause of body odor:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Fungal infections
- Refined sugar (feeds bacteria and fungus on the skin)
Treatment and Prevention
- Alcohol/witch hazel. Wipe your armpits with alcohol, white vinegar or witch hazel instead of deodorant.
- Alum. Try using a crystal rock made from the mineral salt potassium alum instead of a deodorant. It won't keep you dry as an antiperspirant will, but antiperspirants clog your sweat glands and contain aluminum chlorohydrate, which may lead to future health problems.
- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar eliminates under arm body odor when used in place of deodorant because it reduces the pH of the skin. Bacteria can't live in areas with low pH.
- Baby powder. Use baby powder or talc in areas of heavy perspiration.
- Baking soda. Baking soda, the odor-eating standby, can be used instead of deodorant. Just apply the powder to your dry armpits. It will kill bacteria and help absorb perspiration. Cornstarch can also be used instead or mixed with the baking soda.
- Parsley/alfalfa. Chewing parsley, alfalfa and other leafy greens will help neutralize body odor, probably because of the deodorizing effect of the chlorophyll.
- Radishes. Juice about two dozen radishes, add 1/4 teaspoon of glycerine, and put in a squirt or spray-top bottle. Use as an underarm deodorant or to reduce foot odor.
- Rosemary is an antibacterial herb. Put 8 to 10 drops of the essential oil in 1 ounce of water and appy it where needed.
- Sage. Herbalists suggest drinking a cup of sage tea daily to reduce sweat gland activity. This is especially true for those who perspire excessively due to tension. Use 11/2 teaspoonsful of dried sage or two tea bags in one cup of water; steep for ten minutes; drink in small doses throughout the day. Fresh sage leaves blended with tomato juice has been found to be very effective.
- Tea tree is an antibacterial herb. Make a deodorant by putting 2 drops of the essential oil into 1 ounce of water and apply where needed.
- Towelettes (baby wipes). Useful when a tense moment surges the sex hormones which produce fluid under the arms and around the genital areas that, when combined with bacteria, causes odor.
- Turnip juice. Turnip juice will reduce underarm odor for up to 10 hours. Grate a turnip, squeeze the juice through cheesecloth, so that you have two teaspoonsful. Wash your armpits first, and vigorously rub one teaspoonful on each one.
- Wheat grass. Take 500mg of wheat grass daily on an empty stomach and wash down with a glass of water. The chlorophyll will dramatically reduce body odor.
Silicea Homeopaths recommend dissolving three 6X tablets of the tissue salt Silicea under the tongue each morning and evening to knock out odor.