Could that funky body odor be caused by… tomatoes? Weird as it sounds, the answer might be yes!
Tomatoes… yum. Am I right? How could they do any wrong? Well, according to a new article in Medical Hypotheses (so not totally nailed down, but a peer-reviewed hypothesis none-the-less), Irish biochemist J.C.M. Stewart thinks the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes could be causing body odor in some humans. Lycopene, a type of terpene, has chemical compounds that give stuff like essential oils and beer hops their smell. And terpenes mainly exit the body through armpits. Where else does the suspected culprit lurk? Red peppers, watermelon, and papaya.
Stewart wrote in his article’s abstract:
I propose that underarm odor is commonly caused by terpenes excreted via the axillary apocrine glands. I also show that these come from terpene and carotenoid-rich dietary sources including lycopene, tomatoes, orange peel and the glandular trichomes of tomato plants. These observations suggest that the axillary apocrine glands are a prominent excretory route for terpenes. Considering the quantities eaten, tomatoes are likely to be the main source of dietary terpenes, and underarm odor in turn.
Weird, yes? But nothing too alarming. If this news taints your love of tomatoes, just remind yourself of all the awesome antioxidants you’re taking in while eating them.
What do we make of this, Care2? Have you noticed any fishy connection between your BO and your tomato-eating habits?