Can Supplements Cause Body Odors?

Even people with good personal hygiene may have a problem with body odor, which is caused by bacteria that feed on sweat. The more you sweat, the more likely you are to develop embarrassing body odor. Some supplements can make you more or less likely to experience body odor.

Taking high amounts of certain supplements could cause body odor. (Image: deeepblue/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamin Supplements

Dr. Peter Gott noted that supplements can sometimes cause an increase in body odor in an article published in The Times Tribune in September 2011. The B vitamin thiamine can alter your body odor, but it doesn't necessarily make you smell bad. In fact, some people use it as a natural bug repellant, although it isn't clear how effective this practice is. Avoid taking high doses of supplemental choline, however, because it can cause a fishy body odor if you consume too much of it.

Other Supplements

Carnitine supplements, which some people take in hope of improving athletic performance or for limiting the symptoms of certain health conditions, can cause fishy body odor if you take them in high doses.

Just like when you eat fresh or cooked garlic, taking a garlic supplement can give you body odor and bad breath, especially if you take it in large amounts.

Potentially Beneficial Supplements

The B vitamin riboflavin may help limit the fishy body odor people with a condition called trimethylaminuria sometimes experience.

Chlorophyll supplements are sometimes credited with reducing body odor. This substance, which gives plants a green color, may help break down the trimethylamines that cause fishy odors in people with trimethylaminuria, according to Columbia University Health Services.

Reducing Body Odor

Practice proper hygiene, washing your body and clothing well, and limit stress and other causes of sweating to help reduce problems with body odor. Avoid eating large amounts of curry, cumin and garlic, which may increase your risk for body odor. Meat, alcohol and caffeine may lead to unpleasant body odors, as can smoking cigarettes. Certain health problems, including liver disease and diabetes, can also affect your body's smell.

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