The asparagus stinking smell just don't translate to everyone in the same way. For some, the pee smells like pee - nothing special. But for some it stinks like you're peeing into a crater of sulfur-spewing volcano.
Photo by woodleywonderworks | Flickr
The mystery behind the 'can smell' or 'can't smell' the stinking pee after consuming asparagus is as contested like the "blue or black dress" that broke the Internet this year.
Asparagus is mild-tasting and is high in nutrients and antioxidants. This succulent vegetable is also known to be anti-inflammatory.
Before we go into detail on why not everyone can smell the pungent-smelling pee produced after eating asparagus, let's talk about why asparagus makes stinking pee in the first place.
Why asparagus makes stinking pee smell?
Scientists have discovered that asparagus produced an organosulfur compound called asparagusic acid that is responsible in emitting the unpleasant smell which Benjamin Franklin described in his essay Fart Proudly as a "disagreeable" smell.
The asparagusic acid breaks down in our body into sulfur-containing metabolites including methanethiol. These compounds are also volatile which means they easily transform into gaseous state and when they do, they can easily float freely in the air and reach our olfactory nerves of our nose.
Why can't everyone get the stinking smell?
Studies in the past with participants from France
have tried to get to the bottom of this mystery but results are still contradicting with each other. A study in the 1980s had findings that everyone can produce the scent in the urine but not everyone can smell them. In an experiment, those who could smell the stink in their own urine could also smell the stink of the urine of those who couldn't smell it.
Another study published in 2010 played the level field. Both production of the scent and the perception of scent are possible. Though they could not pinpoint what caused the less distinct smell in some people, they were able to pinpoint the gene cluster responsible for the inability to be receptive of the stinky smell.
I bet you do.
It would be interesting to learn more about this baffling incident of eating and peeing with asparagus. However, it's understandable if experts will not put the same amount of effort and money into finding the mysteries of an asparagus over the cure of cancer. Unless both issues converge, the asparagus mystery can stand a chance of being funded.
Smelling the stinking pee after eating asparagus was one of the things that baffles me when I first had it. What about you?
See: Fatal Combo of Food and Meds That Should Be Avoided!
Smithsonian.com / LiveScience.com