HealthConnecting your diet, 'vinegar sweat', and disease: why changes in body scent matter

Connecting your diet, 'vinegar sweat', and disease: why changes in body scent matter

"What symptoms does diabetes give?"
"What symptoms does diabetes give?"
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8:02 AM EST, January 14, 2024

If the body scent changes dramatically following a significant change in diet, it's easy to identify the cause.

Certain foods could be the cause of this acidic smell, including pungent spices (onions, garlic, chilli peppers, curry), red meat, certain types of fish, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper, strawberries, citrus fruits, and alcohol.

A 'vinegar sweat' could be an indicator of a much more serious condition.

The 'Vinegar Sweat' Diabetes Link

'Vinegar sweat' can result from ketoacidosis, associated with uncontrolled Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, or significant nutrient deficiency.

Ketoacidosis occurs when the body lacks sufficient glucose for energy, thus it begins to draw upon an alternative source - fatty acids.

In the process of fat metabolism, compounds known as ketones are produced (acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate). When ketones accumulate in the bloodstream, they can permeate into sweat and are expelled from the body via sweat glands.

The expulsion of acetone through sweat emanates a distinct smell, often described as 'vinegar sweat'.

Remember, this is only one symptom of ketoacidosis, and should not be the sole basis for diagnosis. Other symptoms may include a strong acetone smell from the mouth, dry mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and disorientation.

Ketoacidosis is a severe condition that needs immediate medical attention. Its treatment usually involves body hydration, glucose level correction, and electrolyte monitoring.

Addressing Acidic Sweat

This issue should not be taken lightly, nor should it simply be camouflaged by overusing antiperspirants.

If you detect a change in sweat scent – even if you are not sensitive to the smell but others point it out – it's advisable to promptly consult with a healthcare professional.

It may turn out that the cause could be diabetes, or equally possible is a hormonal imbalance. Both issues warrant medical attention.

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