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Does detoxing get rid of body odor?

Introduction

Body odor, also known as bromhidrosis, is a common condition caused by bacteria breaking down sweat into acids on the skin. It can be an embarrassing and frustrating issue. Many people look to detoxes or cleanses to try to get rid of body odor. But do these detoxes really work? Let’s take a closer look at the causes of body odor and whether detoxing can help.

What Causes Body Odor?

Body odor is primarily caused by apocrine sweat glands, which are located in the armpits, groin, and breast area. These glands produce a thicker, milkier sweat that bacteria love to feed on. When the bacteria break down the sweat, they release unpleasant odors.

Here are some other factors that can contribute to increased body odor:

– Hormonal changes – Puberty, menopause, and menstrual cycles can all trigger increased apocrine sweat production and body odor.

– Diet – Eating spicy foods, garlic, onions, and red meat can make sweat more odoriferous. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can also exacerbate odor.

– Weight – Being overweight or obese leads to increased sweating and provides more surface area for bacteria to grow.

– Medications – Certain prescription drugs can cause excessive sweating as a side effect.

– Health conditions – Diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and genetic conditions can all affect body odor.

– Poor hygiene – Not bathing regularly, changing clothes, or using deodorant allows odor to build up on the skin.

So in summary, body odor is not caused by toxins building up in the body, but rather by sweat mixing with bacteria on the skin’s surface. Proper hygiene is crucial for preventing excess body odor.

Do Detoxes Reduce Body Odor?

Many people try detoxes or cleanses in an effort to “purify” their bodies and get rid of toxins. Some popular detox strategies include:

– Juice cleanses
– Liquid diets
– Fasting
– Colon cleanses
– Detox pills or teas

In theory, detoxing is supposed to flush out toxins that have built up in the body through sweat, urine, and bowel movements. However, there is no evidence that detoxes actually remove toxins or have any benefit for body odor.

Our liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system already naturally filter and remove toxins. Dramatic measures like fasting or colonics can actually be dangerous and disrupt the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Some specific concerns with detoxes for body odor include:

– **Juice cleanses** – Lack protein and nutrients needed for healthy skin. Liquid-only diets can also cause blood sugar fluctuations, stress, and fatigue.

– **Fasting** – Can trigger ketosis, which can cause temporary unpleasant breath or sweat odors as the body burns fat. Pro longed fasting slows metabolism.

– **Colon cleanses** – Not scientifically proven to remove toxins. Can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, nausea, vomiting, and perforations.

– **Detox pills/teas** – Often contain diuretics or laxatives which lead to fluid loss. Little regulation on safety or efficacy.

While some people report a reduction in BO from detoxing, this effect is usually temporary. As soon as normal eating resumes, body odor will return as well. Detoxing also disrupts the gut microbiome, which may negatively affect body odor after the cleanse.

Evidence on Detoxes and Body Odor

There is currently no scientific research demonstrating that detoxes or cleanses can permanently eliminate body odor issues. However, a few small studies provide some insights:

– A [2019 study](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517497/) of 25 people found a 3-day juice cleanse slightly improved body odor, but effects diminished after normal eating resumed.

– [One paper](https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-020-04218-6) theorized extremely low-calorie diets may reduce odor-causing compounds from food metabolism. But extended fasting is not recommended.

– [A 2008 study](https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/33/1/73/364338) found vegetarian diets reduced underarm odor, possibly due to avoiding meat. But adopting a vegetarian diet long-term is very difficult.

Overall there is a lack of rigorous research on detoxing and body odor. The limited evidence does not support detoxes as an effective solution for lasting odor reduction. More high-quality, large-scale studies are needed.

Other Ways to Reduce Body Odor

While detoxing is unlikely to eliminate body odor, there are other science-backed steps you can take instead:

– **Practice good hygiene** – Shower daily using antibacterial soap, especially underarms, groin and feet. Change clothes and underwear regularly.

– **Use aluminum-based antiperspirants** – Aluminum salts plug sweat ducts, reducing moisture where bacteria grows. Natural deodorants don’t block sweat.

– **Apply antibacterial treatments** – Look for products with chlorhexidine or triclosan to kill underarm bacteria.

– **Avoid triggers** – Stop smoking, reduce spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine, lose weight if obese.

– **Treat underlying conditions** – See a doctor about excessive sweating, hormonal imbalances, or health issues.

– **Take probiotics** – Can help balance bacteria and reduce odors. Lactobacillus species show benefits.

– **Eat a healthy, balanced diet** – Emphasize fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Stay hydrated.

Making smart lifestyle choices and practicing good hygiene habits can go a long way towards reducing body odor issues. For most people, detoxes provide no extra odor-fighting benefit. Speak to your doctor if body odor persists despite using these science-backed steps.

The Bottom Line

Detoxes and cleanses do not address the underlying causes of body odor from sweat mixing with bacteria on the skin’s surface. There is currently very limited evidence that detox diets or juice cleanses can permanently reduce body odor.

Any odor reduction during a detox is likely temporary as odors return after transitioning back to normal eating. Detoxes can also be dangerous if taken to extremes, leading to nutrient deficiencies and health complications.

Instead of detoxing, focus on developing consistent hygiene habits, using effective odor-fighting products, avoiding triggers, taking targeted supplements and seeing a doctor for any underlying health issues. With some diligent efforts, you can troubleshoot body odor issues without the need for unproven detox methods.

Detox Method Potential Pros Potential Cons
Juice cleanses – May temporarily reduce odors – Nutrient deficiencies
Fasting – No proven benefits – Halitosis, body odor once resume eating
Colon cleanses – No evidence of detoxification – Dehydration, electrolyte imbalances
Detox pills/teas – No proven benefits – Mostly diuretics or laxatives

Conclusion

In summary, current research does not support detox diets as an effective solution for reducing or eliminating body odor. Any effects appear to be temporary. For lasting results, it is better to focus on developing good daily hygiene habits, avoiding triggers, using aluminum-based antiperspirants, taking targeted supplements and seeking medical advice for excessive sweating or health conditions. With some diligence, body odor can be minimized without resorting to potentially harmful detox methods that lack scientific evidence.