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Asparagus Pee New Research Says Urine Really Stinks

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by underthesea

underthesea's picture
In The News

Guys seem to enjoy talking about it, women refrain--but the question remains: does everyone’s pee smell after eating asparagus. After much research, the Monell Chemical Senses Center says: yeah, pretty much--'asparagus pee' stinks but not every human can smell it.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has completed a study--if you think you’re alone in having your urine smell funny or even stink after enjoying asparagus, rest assured, you're not alone. Of course its visual attractiveness, as far as the vegetable realm, makes asparagus one of the most popular side dishes in both fine dining and served for special events. It could be worse--unlike garlic, asparagus at least doesn’t have the same bitter effects for the opposite end of things, like breath.

As it turns out, not many escape the ‘asparagus pee’ syndrome and the stinky scent that can follow the veggie’s ingestion. In fact, Monell reveals that only about 8% of those munching on roasted asparagus don’t experience pee that stinks, or at least smells—that’s roughly only one in every (lucky) 13 people that aren’t affected by eating the vegetable.

Separately—but importantly, as the study reveals--about 6% of people cannot detect the smell or odor related to ‘asparagus-pee’. Those that can’t smell the scent are unable to detect it with either themselves or anyone else. Just one single, “fortunate” soul fell into the category of both not experiencing the asparagus pee effect individually, and also not being able to smell the stinky effects in relation to anyone else’s urine.

The breakdown on asparagus and pee involves just that—the breakdown. The scent of asparagus, and fact that it stinks in relation to urine waste, has to do with both individual genetics and metabolism. But those whom are unable to detect the fairly nasty scent that results from eating asparagus might not really be better off: research shows a link, that those same folks who can’t smell ‘asparagus pee’ may also be unable to smell or a related compound known as ‘Mercaptan’. The compound Mercaptan is actually added to natural gas, specifically for safety and to make natural gas detectable, odiferous to humans—basically the compound serves as a danger signal.

Moral of the story? Being able to smell asparagus in urine waste may not be the most pleasant experience or idea (especially if it’s not your own). On the upside, if ‘asparagus pee’ bugs you, you might just avoid an explosion—think of it as the potential to save your life.

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