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why does your urine smell when you eat asparagus

French novelist Marcel Proust once fancifully described the smell as transforming my humble chamber pot into a bowl of aromatic perfume. But it seems he was in the minority as three in five people are unable to even detect the odour, according to a study published on Wednesday. From data on 6909 participants, 58 per cent of men and 61. 5 per cent of women had asparagus anosmia, or the inability to detect the smell, according to the results in the BMJ medical journal s Christmas edition, traditionally reserved for studies that are quirky but scientifically sound. Among this majority, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found 871 genetic coding variants, or SNPs, on genes associated with smell suggesting the inability is inherited. Professionals have long debated the cause of the pungent aroma that only some people detect in their urine a few hours after eating the vegetable. Does the difference arise because some people do not produce asparagus pee, or because they are simply unable to smell it? The new research goes some way towards answering the question. This study was conceived during a scientific meeting attended by several of the co-authors in bucolic Sweden, where it became apparent that some of us were unable to detect any unusual odour in our urine after consuming new spring asparagus, wrote the team. They went in search of existing studies on the phenomenon, and found two US-based projects in which participants were asked about asparagus pee in a broader health questionnaire in 2010.

Using that data for their own analysis, the team classified asparagus smellers as people who strongly agreed that they discharged a distinctive odour after eating asparagus. The rest were listed as suffering from asparagus anosmia. The team called their study: Sniffing out significant Pee values : genome wide association study of asparagus anosmia a play on the term P value used to denote statistical significance in scientific studies. With one question closer to being answered, many still remain, said the authors. If asparagus is packed so full of nutrients, why would it make some people give off a smell that may put them off ever eating it again? What drove the evolutionary selection that caused some to lack the asparagus-smelling gene variants? And, will scientists take the results of our study and apply gene editing techniques to convert smellers to non-smellers? asked the team. More research is needed, they said, before considering targeted therapies to help anosmic people discover what they are missing.
This is part of our series. Funny, curious, and even startling facts and stories about the pee our bodies make. Will Eating Asparagus Give Your Pee a Strong Urine Odor? Perhaps you ve heard it claimed many times before. Asparagus makes your urine smell bad, but is that claim true?

In a wordв Yes. Well, bad is a subjective term. It makes your urine odor a lot stronger at the very least. Asparagus can also cause. Why does this happen? When you eat asparagus the vegetable breaks down. The vitamins and minerals enter your urine and eventually exit your body in your pee. There are some sulfuric elements in asparagus that may be causing the the strong urine odor and darker urine color. After eating asparagus, your pee will smell pretty quickly, usually within 30 minutes of eating the green stalks. The effect doesn t last too long, and usually goes away after your first or second urination post munching on asparagus. Does Cooking the Asparagus Make the Urine Odor Strong? People enjoy eating asparagus prepared in many different ways, but whether your asparagus is fresh or cooked, it will still cause the strong odor. There are, perhaps, some ways to prepare asparagus that could create a stronger or milder urine odor depending on the other foods, spices, etc you may use. Which foods or spices? Well, that s harder to determine. Part of the challenge here is the evidence is mostly anecdotal. Do you have a way to measure how strong you urine smells after eating asparagus prepared in different ways? Now, it could be possible to conduct a urine test using samples taken after eating the raw and cooked asparagus, but most urine tests are not designed today to test specifically for the differences in minerals and chemicals that accompany asparagus in urine.

Perhaps more importantly, the conditions that would be required for an unbiased urine sample would need to be very strict to rule out any other factors that may introduce similar chemicals in your urine. But, if you have some experience with asparagus preparation that either intensifies or decreases the strength of the urine odor, please let us know. Not Everyone Thinks that Asparagus Makes Your Pee Smell. The really interesting thing is many people can t physically smell the odor that asparagus causes. Actually, only about 40% of people have the genes to smell this odor! That s why some people think you re crazy when you tell them that asparagus will make your pee smell funny. There s another theory as well, and that is that certain people don t have the same physical reaction with asparagus as those who experience a strong urine odor. So, why hasn t science nailed this down? Some scientists may find it difficult to receive research grants for stinky pee, especially when there s is no known danger from eating asparagus other than a pungent odor. That s why you will usually hear theories rather than case studies. But if you want to run your own tests and let us know, we would be happy to hear the results. Just to don t expect your friends to be too excited when you offer to cook asparagus for them and then smell each other s urine.

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