Why Your Urine Hates Asparagus
When preparing a meal for a room full of guests, you may want to choose another vegetable.
Asparagus is Unfriendly
There are reasons why asparagus will not be a crowd pleaser. We assume every human body functions similarly. Sometimes things happen we cannot easily explain. Take chemical reactions to certain vegetables.
Some persons notice a putrid smell during urination after ingesting vegetables within the brassica family. A subset of people have something called trimethylaminuria. This condition interferes with the breakdown of a chemical called trimethylamine in choline-rich foods like asparagus or cauliflower (47 mg/cup), broccoli (30 mg), Brussels sprouts (17 mg) and cabbage (7.5 mg).
But what about people who only have a fetid reaction to asparagus? It turns out there is a chemical unique to this vegetable, fittingly called asparagusic acid. Studies are inconclusive because some participants notice their own foul urine, while some smell it in others but not themselves. Remaining individuals have no idea why we are even talking about this.
This is not a wholesale disparagement, ignoring the nutritious value of asparagus. Compounds within asparagus root called steroidal glycosides may help reduce inflammation. Asparagus also contains calcium, magnesium and iodine. It is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamins A, C and E.
Scientists believe that some people convert asparagusic acid into a sulfur compound similar to rotten eggs with other pungent notes. Only about one-quarter of the population appears to have the special gene that allows them to smell the sulfuric compounds emitted by nearly everyone else. This can be awkward. You may be unknowingly stinking up the place. It is not harmful, just off-putting.
If your urine is smelly after eating asparagus, you are not alone. What you or others smell is paradoxically common and unnatural. So when preparing a meal for a room full of guests, to be on the safe side, you may want to choose a vegetable other than asparagus. Or stock up on bathroom air freshener.
- Mutations of the Flavin-Containing Monooxygenase Gene (FMO3) cause Trimethylaminuria, a Defect in Detoxication. academic.oup.com
- Primary Trimethylaminuria. nih.gov
- Brassica. wikipedia.org
- Asparagus Nutrition Facts. learninginfo.org
- Why Does Asparagus Make Your Urine Smell? bbc.com
- Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell. smithsonianmag.com
- Why Your Pee Smells Funny After Eating Asparagus. webmd.com