Body odor happens to the best of us. It’s also HOT outside so we may be sweating (and smelling) a little more than usual. While sweating and body odor may be completely natural, it may not be the main impression you want to leave around other people. But luckily, if you are dealing with more body odor than usual, you’ve come to the right place.
Did you know that sweat itself is actually odorless? That said, bacterial growth is the main culprit at play when it comes to strong smells. Odors may originate from a number of sources, such as a poor diet, imbalanced gut bacteria, hormone changes and even stress.
Body odor can also occur because your body is trying to excrete a lifetime of toxins that are stored in your body. Even if you’ve never done a cleanse, when you notice a stronger body odor, it’s your body’s signal to you that you need a detox and that our body is trying desperately to release the buildup of stored toxins through sweat! Sweat also contains many components similar to urine, which is why we can smell more of it when detoxing!
Over time, toxins come into our body from our environment and the unhealthy food that we have eaten, and are eliminated through our sweat and other bodily fluids, causing a stronger than normal odor. If we don’t eliminate these toxins, they can build up over time and affect the machinery inside our cells, resulting in a variety of symptoms including chronic inflammation, immune dysregulation, and endocrine disruption.
If you are a health-conscious individual, you most likely have tried a cleanse or detox program in the past. During a detox, some of us may experience symptoms such as tiredness, headaches and a change in appetite. Some of us may also notice a stronger body odor than normal while doing a detox! Among my patients that are currently on a detox program, I’ve noticed that their body odor tends to be stronger than normal if they have not done a detox in a long time, or have never done a detox at all.
Leafy greens and vegetables help nourish the body and contain a high amount of fiber, which help with the elimination of toxins. One great resource that I recommend to patients who are looking to identify less toxic products for their food (as well as home and personal care) is the website Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research and advocacy group. They have helpful charts that you can use to help you prioritize which produce to buy organic, and when it’s okay to go with conventional produce. Try to also incorporate other types of beneficial fiber into your diet, such as flaxseed, chia, pineapple, amaranth, quinoa and sprouts. It is also important to realize that detoxification can cause a change to our gut microbiome (or the community of microorganisms in our gut such as good and bad bacteria). By eating more fiber, the more we support the growth of beneficial bacteria in our microbiome, and the more efficient our detoxification process becomes.
During a detox, it is also essential to avoid foods that are known to promote inflammation, are devoid in nutrients, and contain high levels of toxins. Examples of the types of foods that should be avoided include processed foods (contain high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates and artificial colors/preservatives) and foods that contain harmful fats (such as trans or saturated fats).
Even though most Americans love dairy, it tends to increase mucus production and inflammation in our body- negatively affecting our lymphatic system which is responsible for immune and detoxification functions. Meat (particularly red meat) is hard to digest and acidic, and can sit undigested in our colon for a long time- leading to the growth of harmful strains of gut bacteria and lowering our body’s ability to engage in detoxification. Many non-organic meats also contain antibiotics and other chemicals which can disrupt optimal digestive health and further reduce our body’s ability to detoxify harmful substances.
For a healthier alternative to meat, try cleaner, more body odor-friendly sources of protein such as our Vegan Vanilla Proteini, which is made from 10 different plants.
Water helps to flush out toxins from our body, helps to hydrate us, and keeps our lymphatic system running smoothly. In addition, many of us lose water through increased sweat production while doing a detox, so it is important to make sure that we replenish it by drinking plenty of water. Try and aim for drinking at least 8 large glasses of filtered water per day and avoid buying water sold in plastic bottles (which can contain many different chemicals).
Frequent alcohol consumption robs us of crucial nutrients (such as magnesium and B vitamins). These two nutrients are very important in promoting our liver detoxification pathways, which play a major role in helping us to get rid of harmful substances. When these nutrients are depleted, we can no longer process and eliminate harmful toxins- leading them to build up in our body and promote a variety of symptoms such as chronic fatigue, multiple chemical sensitivities, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and inflammation (which can worsen/promote chronic diseases).
I would suggest incorporating the following detox protocol below as part of your health and wellness plan. This will help ensure you are getting the right type of nutrients to support detoxification and safely remove toxins from your body.
Step 1: Organic Pressed Greens| 10:00 AM
Step 2: Pineapple Chia Cleanse | 5:00 PM
In addition to the diet and lifestyle suggestions listed above, it is important to consult with your physician so he or she can rule out other causes of body odor such as certain medications you might be currently taking (SSRIs, pain medications, hormone medications, etc.), diabetes, kidney and liver disorders, and hormone fluctuations (such as menopause).
Dr. Jason Dave