Friday, 29 January 2010

Does your pee stink after eating asparagus?

This is a re-post... I thought I'd occasionally re-post some older entries because... it's Friday and I'm lazy!!
Hope you're having a great Friday!

After eating asparagus, some people's urine has a very distinct, stinky smell.

Asparagus contains a compound called mercaptan.
The smelly pee is a result of this compound being broken down in your digestive system.
However, not everyone has the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan. If your body doesn't break it down, your pee won't be stinky after eating asaragus.

One British study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that 46% of British people tested had stinky pee after eating asparagus while 100% of French people did .
Another study of a random sample of 115 people showed that 40% had stinky pee.

Interestingly, another study found that we can't all smell stinky pee- regardless of whether we're stinkers or non-stinkers!

So... some people don't break down mercaptan (are non-stinkers) but can smell it in other people's urine (I fall in this category), while other non-stinkers can't smell anything. Some break down the compound and therefore are stinkers, and can smell it, but other stinkers are unable to detect the smell in in their urine or in urine that others had identified as "outright putrid".

The authors suggested that the ability to smell stinky urine is also genetically determined.

Don't be embarrassed if your urine smells after eating asparagus, you're definitely not alone and it's not a reason why you should avoid asparagus. Asparagus is great source of folic acid, B vitamins, fibre, and
one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary walls.

So... are you a stinker?

Tip: Asparagus won't last very long. To increase its storage time and keep it crisp, treat it like a bouquet of flowers: Trim the bottom of the stalks, place in a tall glass with a little water at the bottom, cover loosely with a plastic bag, keep in fridge.


Gina said...

I learned about this on Good Eats! And yes, I have the gene, and it works quite well. Seriously, my pee smells within seconds of eating asparagus!

lookinout said...

Good post. And the tips works for parsley too. As for pee, I have the terrible sense of smell part, so I have no idea.

Chow and Chatter said...

yep thats the only bad thing about eating asparagus lol, hope it warms up soon were you are Rebecca

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for sharing Gina :)
I didn't know that about parsley- thanks Gillian!
It's getting a bit warmer. Can't complain- it's been a very mild winter! Welcome back, Rebecca! :)

Anonymous said...

I never knew why asparagus led to that problem. Thanks for the info!!