Body odor, also called bromhidrosis, occurs when waste products are produced by anaerobic bacteria in the body. When the wastes from these bacteria mix with perspiration - which itself is nearly odorless - strong odors can happen. Many people use topical treatments such as deoderants and anti-perspirants to manage the condition. But are there vitamins or supplements for body odor?
Your kidneys, liver and colon do a great job of helping eliminate waste and harmful substances in your body that can lead to odors. A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help minimize body odor by helping these organs function smoothly and help your body better handle the toxins bacteria leave behind. Healthy foods also supply deodorizing antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage that happens every day during normal cell processes.
Vitamins and Minerals to Help Reduce Body Odor
Vitamins are necessary to keep your body healthy and humming along smoothly. Getting enough of the right vitamins can help curb imbalances that may lead to embarrassing aromas.
Vitamins for Body Odor
Certain vitamins and minerals can strongly affect both the concentration and aroma of body odor.
- Vitamin E: This vitamin is good for the skin and can help repair damaged skin cells that may harbor odor-causing bacteria.
- Vitamin A: Can help reduce body odor by keeping skin from being damaged by bacteria.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth and gums, and a healthy mouth is less likely to produce strong smelling breath. Severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to body odors.
Minerals for Body Odor
Certain minerals are also helpful when trying to combat body odor. Magnesium and zinc can help reduce body smells. Low levels of magnesium can lead to excessive sweating, and zinc is an antioxidant that helps the body manage bacteria.
A small study found that applying zinc oxide to underams helped reduce odor-causing bacteria.
Healthy Food vs. Supplements for Body Odor
In a perfect world, we would meet all of our vitamin and mineral needs by eating healthy meals and snacks. But since we live in a world where we often eat on the go and have less time than we would like to prepare well-balanced meals, you might consider an alternative approach to get adequate nutrition. A multivitamin or supplement may help.
Multivitamin for Body Odor
You may consider choosing a multivitamin to supply these needed nutrients and to help make up for shortfalls in vitamin and mineral intake. When choosing a multivitamin supplement, find one that is independently tested for content, purity and identity of the ingredients.
Some health food companies and vitamin manufacturers offer body odor control blends specifically to targeted at minimizing personal smells, but double check that the amounts don't exceed recommended levels of the nutrients. Older studies show that excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins niacin and folate are excreted through sweat, so megadoses of supplements are not recommended, since it's possible they can lead to smells.
Healthy Foods for Body Odor
Getting the right vitamins for body odor control isn't hard to do. A healthy, balanced diet will have enough of the essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals, particularly if the diet includes plenty of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Eggs, bananas, tuna, lentils, peaches, almonds, and tomatoes are especially good sources of vitamins to help with body odor.
More Tips to Reduce Body Odor
If your body odor is severe, simply adding vitamins to your diet may not be enough. There are several other solutions that can help minimize body odor, including:
- Clothing: Loose-fitting clothes attract fewer body odors than tight attire. At the gym, smelly clothes might be the culprit. Certain fabrics hold onto sweat and bacteria. Always follow the washing instructions on your workout clothes, wash them after every workout, and if you can't get rid of the odors, it's time to toss out the clothes.
- Deodorants: Choose a stronger deodorant or antiperspirant. Vitamin-infused and antibacterial formulas are available.
- Diet: Instead of just adding vitamin supplements, adjusting your diet can help minimize body odors. Avoid too much of certain foods with strong smells, such as red meat, garlic, cumin, curry, fish, and exotic spices. Eat plenty of dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach, and kale - the chlorophyll and carotenoids in green vegetables provide natural pigments and have antioxidant properties.
- Personal hygiene: Using a stronger deodorizing soap or an antibacterial soap can help reduce body odors. Washing more frequently helps too.
- Water: Drink plenty of water to help keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Taking the right vitamins for body odor control can help you manage natural smells discreetly and easily, minimizing any embarrassing aromas. But in some instances, strong body odors that don't respond to typical treatments can (rarely) indicate more serious health conditions. If your condition persists, seek advice from a healthcare provider to get the issue resolved.