Have you ever been walking by your freshly used workout clothes and wondered, why does my sweat smell like ammonia? Well you’re not alone. In fact, it can be very common for athletes to get an ammonia smell in their nose, from their sweat, or on their clothes from a hard workout at least once in their life. And while not life threatening if this is happening regularly it’s something you should take note of and take steps fix.
So why is your seat smelling like ammonia and how do you fix? Lets find out!
- Sweat smelling like ammonia is a sign of burning protein due to low carb reserves during workouts.
- To fix it, increase healthy carb intake and consult a doctor if on a specialized diet.
- Staying well-hydrated can help dilute the ammonia smell.
Why Does My Sweat Smell Like Ammonia?
If you’ve noticed an ammonia-like odor when you sweat during a run or workout, it’s an indication that your body has begun to burn protein as a source of energy. This typically occurs when your body is running low on glucose (the stored form of carbohydrates) to use for fuel. To compensate for the insufficient glucose, your body shifts to protein metabolism. When your body burns protein, one of the byproducts of amino acid breakdown is ammonia, a toxic substance. Although your body has a system to convert ammonia into urea during exercise, excessive protein burning can overload this system. In response, your body resorts to the simplest way of eliminating toxins – through sweat.
TL;DR: Low carb reserves lead to protein burning, resulting in excess ammonia production, which is then expelled through sweat.
How to Fix It
The good news is that most people can address this issue relatively quickly by making some healthy dietary adjustments.
The most common cause of the ammonia smell is either a low carbohydrate intake or following a high-protein, low-carb diet. If you’re not deliberately on a high-protein diet, it’s likely due to insufficient carb consumption. This is commonly referred to as “you need to eat more carbs” syndrome. Embrace this urge, especially when you’re engaging in regular workouts or running; healthy carbohydrates should be a balanced part of your diet.
If you’re following a specialized high-protein or ketogenic diet, it’s advisable to consult with your physician. If you’re on such a diet and it wasn’t recommended by your doctor, a medical check-up is prudent to ensure it’s a healthy choice for you.
Another step you can take to reduce the ammonia smell is to stay well-hydrated. Remember, the solution to pollution is dilution, and extra water will help dilute the odor.
If you’ve ever wondered why your sweat smells like ammonia during or after a workout, it’s likely due to your body burning protein when it’s low on carbohydrates. While not usually a cause for alarm, the consistent presence of this odor should prompt you to take action. The solution is simple: maintain a balanced diet with sufficient carbohydrates, consult a doctor if you’re on a high-protein or keto diet without medical advice, and stay well-hydrated to reduce the ammonia smell. With these steps, you can ensure a more pleasant and healthier exercise experience.
Why does my sweat smell like ammonia during exercise?
When you notice an ammonia-like odor in your sweat during exercise, it’s often a sign that your body has shifted to burning protein as a source of energy. This occurs when your carbohydrate stores (glucose) are depleted, and your body turns to protein metabolism.
Is it normal for sweat to smell like ammonia?
While it’s not uncommon, a persistent ammonia smell in your sweat may indicate an imbalance in your diet or exercise routine. In many cases, it can be corrected by making some dietary adjustments.
Can dehydration cause sweat to smell like ammonia?
Yes, dehydration can contribute to an ammonia-like odor in sweat. When you’re dehydrated, your body may not be able to efficiently process and excrete ammonia, resulting in its presence in your sweat.
How can I prevent or reduce the smell of ammonia in my sweat?
To minimize the ammonia smell, ensure you have an adequate intake of carbohydrates, especially if you engage in regular workouts. Staying well-hydrated is also essential, as proper hydration helps dilute the odor. If you’re following a high-protein or ketogenic diet, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s a healthy choice for you.
When should I be concerned about ammonia-smelling sweat?
If you consistently notice an ammonia odor in your sweat, especially when you’re not following a high-protein diet or engaging in strenuous exercise, it may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation to rule out any health concerns.