Stinky, Yucky, Icky

Why does asparagus make your pee smell funny?

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It doesn't happen to everyone, but some people experience a peculiar side-effect from eating asparagus: It makes their pee stinky!

Scientists don't know exactly what it is in asparagus that makes some people's pee smell bad, but lots of studies point to something in asparagus called "mercaptan." Mercaptan is like a type of sulfur (which is one of the main culprits in the reason why poop smells!) and as the mercaptan in your asparagus is digested, it releases this yucky smell. At least, in some people...

One of the most interesting things about the icky smell found in urine after eating asparagus is that it doesn't happen to everyone! Furthermore, lots of studies also have shown that some people are simply not able to smell anything different. That means that when it comes to Stinky Asparagus Pee, there are people who get stinky pee and can smell it, and people who get stinky pee and can't smell it. Then there are also those who don't get stinky pee but could smell it if they were around someone else's, and those who don't get stinky pee and couldn't even smell it if they tried!

As for why there are all of these different abilities to produce or smell the side-effect of eating asparagus, most researchers believe it has to do with your genes, which are the qualities you inherit from your parents. The good news is that no matter which type of Asparagus Digester or Sniffer you are, you don't have to worry having the smell or not and being able to detect it or not are all perfectly normal ways to be. Just enjoy your yummy asparagus meal and let your body take care of the rest!

Exploration

Digestion Digest!

Aside from stinky pee from asparagus, what are some other funny or gross things you've learned about that happen during digestion? One good example is corn because your body does not fully digest corn, you might sometimes find a few kernels in the toilet the day after eating corn!

What are some other silly or icky examples you can think of??