Lets take a moment and discuss a problem that affects a lot of people, but is often stigmatized- body odor. Body odor stinks, literally and figuratively. Research has shown that some people with body odor have problems in their personal and social relationships. Feelings of shame, embarrassment, low self-esteem, isolation, frustration, and depression are extremely common where body odor is present.
Sufferers and their families have been may gain considerable benefit from sympathetic and non-judgmental counseling, however long-term strategies and approaches to deal with causes of body odor are probably a lot more effective. Body odor is a problem to solve, not learn to live with.
What Are the Causes of Body Odor?
The human body has many systems that are constantly at work and waste byproducts are simply part of that process. The digestive process results in waste, our skin sweats to excrete waste, and the cells in our bodies are constantly replacing themselves. Just as we take in food, we put out waste. Although body odor often occurs when inadequate bathing or hygiene fail to properly clean up the messes our bodies make (sweat contains bacterial activity, allowing it to dry on the skin can produce body odor), it can also result from systemic deficiencies within the body.
In women, menstruation and stress often dramatically increases the degree of body odor. Yeast conditions such as candida can produce a beer-like smell since yeast can turn sugar into alcohol quickly within the body. Medical tests at Imperial College in London have shown that some people with body odor have ‘friendly bacteria’ imbalances.
Foods rich in the amino acid carnitine are known to leave residues in the intestines, which have to be worked on by the natural flora. Specific enzymes known as flavin monooxygenases break the residues down to an odorless state ready for excretion. If they are in poor supply, missing, or bowel flora is disturbed, a “fishy” body odor can result.
Combating the Problem
If body odor is a product of poor hygiene, new behaviors simply must be learned and adequate tools must be used. One thing we need to be clear of though is that toxic antiperspirant and deodorant sprays are not the answer. Organic hygiene products are readily available and are the best choice.
When body odor is indicative of a problem from within, detoxifying your body is the answer. There are a variety of cleansing routines that may be appropriate and regularly incorporating detox foods may help. Regular sessions in an infrared sauna are also known to encourage the removal of toxic impurities through the skin.
About 7% of people complaining of body odor do not completely digest particular foods because of enzyme deficiencies or digestive problems. So for regular support, persons with body odor should take a probiotic supplement, as this will help boost intestinal flora quality.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM