Learn Something Food Everday: What’s that smell?

asparagus pee

How much do you love asparagus? It’s one of my favorite vegetables for sure. I just can’t get enough of it. And although it may not be in season at the moment (at least the local stuff) I couldn’t help but post about it. Except this post has nothing to do with the taste. This post is about the aftermath.

Now half of you may not have any idea what I’m eluding to. For some of you, you may have never experienced what I experience. And to be honest, you may think your better off. But having done some research I’m not so sure of that.

The jury is still out, but that potent smell, you know the one that seems to come within minutes of consuming the green (or white) spears seems to have a few possible causes. The major assumption is that through the digestion of the asparagus a stinky compound known as methyl mercaptan is produced and excreted through the kidneys. Methyl mercaptan, often described as having a rotten cabbage, rotten eggs, or ammonia like smell, seems to only be created by those containing a specific enzyme. The data suggests around 50% of people contain this enzyme and therefore produce the smelly effect.

But this may not be the whole story. Interestingly enough, there is data that also suggests a genetic ability to smell the mercaptan compound. That’s right all you people who enjoy your odorless evenings aftering chowing down…I can smell something you can’t! It’s just too bad methyl mercaptain doesn’t smell like strawberries.

That awesome bumper sticker is available at cafe press.

And some of the links for the info if you’re interested:

Discovery: The Skinny On




2 Responses to Learn Something Food Everday: What’s that smell?

  1. sarah says:

    so you’re saying that everyone’s pee smells, it’s just that half of us can’t smell it? i have never experienced this and neither has my sister. i also have a suspicion that i am not allergic to poison ivy. commode.

  2. […] – My Pee smells like asparagus! […]

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