Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stinky Asparagus Pee Results From A Combination Of Digestion And Genetics

Asparagus is incredibly delicious, but have you ever noticed that your pee smells just like asparagus shortly after eating it? 

About 22%-50% of the population experience this weird phenomenon, and some of the most notable people in history have commented on it. Benjamin Franklin even wrote in a letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels that, "A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour." There seems to be some disagreement about whether the odor smells good or bad. French novelist Marcel Proust wrote that asparagus, "transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume."

What causes this to happen and why doesn't everyone experience it?

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Whether it be with breakfast...

...or dinner, asparagus is so delicious it hurts.

But then you take a whiz and it smells super funky.

Surprisingly, less than half of people actually smell this. 

So what's going on?

Let's see what the science says is responsible for this horrid smell.

There is something called, believe it or not, asparagusic acid in asparagus that is broken down during digestion into something really stinky.

As digestion occurs, this acid is broken down into sulfuric compounds that are volatile. Volatile compounds have a really low boiling point, meaning that it doesn't take much for these compounds to fill the room in the form of a gas.

Room temperature is enough to turn these compounds into a gas that hits you straight in the face.

It doesn't take long for these compounds to be broken down either. Your pee can have the smelly stuff in it in less than 15 minutes.

Most people produce the smell, but some people just can't smell it.

A recent study showed that some people have a gene that prevents them from detecting the pungent scent.

The reason that this genetic mutation results in an inability to smell asparagus pee is currently unknown, but hey, be happy! You're not missing anything special.

Some people might actually produce less smelly pee, though.

The reason for this is unknown. 

Scientists are working tirelessly to get to the bottom of this...

Unfortunately (but maybe it's a good thing), millions of dollars aren't being spent on asparagus pee research. It might be a while before anyone knows the real reason.

At the end of the day, NOTHING will stop me from eating asparagus. 

Not even some stinky whiz.

SHARE this article with your friends on Facebook. Are they part of the 50% who can smell it?


Author: verified_user