Sweat Smells like Ammonia

Ammonia is composed of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is a colorless gas, with a characteristic strong odor. Ammonia is also a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceutical products and is also used as commercial cleaning products.

Sometimes, it is noticed that sweat smells like ammonia. Such unpleasant and unhygienic smell is very irritating, and may cause embarrassment in societal circles, but it is not a matter of serious concern. There are some clear cut reasons, indicating the causes behind this phenomenon.

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We should ideally consume a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Sometimes this balance gets disturbed and sweat smelling of ammonia may occur. It is a result of improper nutrition.  Exercising can also make a person reek of sweat smelling like ammonia.

Carbohydrate is the power house of energy production in the body, and next to it, is the function of fats to provide energy. Protein is also a very important nutrient for growth and repair of the body. Some other functions of protein are making structural components such as collagen, connective tissue, muscle fibers, transporting substances in the body, helping in various bodily mechanism. It is better to get amino acids engaged in bodily functions.

There are numerous reasons as to why sweat smells of ammonia. It depends on metabolic process going inside the body and how the body is utilizing he energy source.  Sweat that smell like ammonia is not a health concern, usually. Below are some reasons to explain the smell of sweat like ammonia.

girl armpits sweating ammonia

A) Heavy work out

Exercise requires tremendous amount of energy. Energy obtained from the breakdown of carbohydrate and fat, is not sufficient in strenuous exercise. So, finally breakdown of protein occurs. Breakdown of protein results in the formation of amino acids. During heavy workout, ammonia is released from the body in the form of sweat.

B) High protein and low carbohydrate diet

Body requires carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to carry on normal metabolism. Due to lack of carbohydrates and fats, breakdown of protein occurs to release energy. Amino acid starts breaking down and releases glucose. Other things produced by breakdown of amino acid are mostly waste products. Kidney can’t accumulate all waste products, so they excreted out of the body in the form of sweat. Ammonia is one of the waste products excreted through sweat.

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Ammonia in large amount, is not good for the body. Excess amounts can imbalance neurological function and can cause muscle fatigue. So, it is converted into urea, which dissolves in urine and is excreted out.  The typical smell of ammonia gives sweat that characteristic odor.

C) Health related problems

Sometimes health related issues may lead to ammonia aroma. This time, smell of ammonia emanates from mouth or breath. Also, if you experience this kind of sweating along with other symptoms, you may need to consult a doctor to check if there is any issue with the kidneys or the liver.

Measures to prevent ammonia smell in sweat

There are several measures, to get rid of ammonia smell in sweat, if it is really irritating a person.

a) Intake of carbohydrate rich diet

To get rid of ammonia odor in sweat, a person’s diet should be supplemented with carbohydrate rich food. After strenuous exercise for burning fuel, energy source should be carbohydrate and not protein. Protein should be deviated and utilized for certain other metabolic functions. It should be strictly applicable for those people who take very low carbohydrate diet, or who totally avoid carbohydrate for weight loss. Before work-out oatmeal, bread and an apple is very useful breakfast which provides energy for the whole day and doesn’t disturb the person’s goal of dieting or weight loss.

b) Drink more water

Intake of excess water is very good to  liberate the body body from waste particles and harmful toxins.  One’s body  should be well hydrated, so that unwanted wastes removed out through urine. The main intention is that urine should be clear. If urine is not clear, it means person is not drinking abundant water. Water is essential for body to stay physically fit and in normal condition. 75 to 150 ounces of water is average for a person, the higher range more in tune with a person who exercises daily. If there is smell of ammonia in sweat, energy drinks should be taken in abundant quantity for entire day of workout. Electrolytes present in these drinks help utilize proper fuels to release energy.

C) Recognize the ammonia smell is just the body’s way to excrete toxins

Athletes and people who indulge in hardcore exercises  tend to emit ammonia smell in their sweat. A person needs much more energy than by just carbohydrates in case of heavy workouts. From fast runners and athletes, everyone should learn that it is natural to emit ammonia smell after  intense physical activity.  Such people can eat diet which provide rich carbs like legumes, whole grains and cereals. But by and large, one should recognize that it is natural for the sweat to smell like ammonia after intense physical activity. The odor can pass gradually or after taking a shower.

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