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Old 11-14-2012, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4
Do People Really Sweat Garlic?

My mother claims that she can tell when my father has eaten garlic. She claims that he sweats it out.

I don't believe that the "garlic molecule" can be sustained in tact and after traveling through at least part of the human digestive tract arrive in sufficient quantity in our sweat to be detected by some else's olfactory senses.

My question: Is there any factual evidence or studies related to people eating garlic then sweating garlic aroma? I'd really like to know if this is at all possible. Seems like a straight forward experiment -- have a subject eat a bowl of garlic then periodically sample their sweat for "garlic molecule" analysis.

A. Romaboy
Old 11-14-2012, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Santa Barbara
Posts: 4,318
According to Wikipedia,
Garlic is known for causing halitosis, as well as causing sweat to have a pungent 'garlicky' smell, which is caused by allyl methyl sulfide (AMS).
Old 11-14-2012, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
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Yes they do. The molecule doesn't "survive intact", as such; it is metabolised into compounds (chiefly allyl methyl sulphide) which have an odor, and escape the body in the breath and sweat.
Old 11-14-2012, 02:39 PM
The Turtle Moves!
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The OP obviously doesn't eat kimchi. Best mosquito and bear repellant around. Work up a good sweat and no living thing will come near you.

Last edited by silenus; 11-14-2012 at 02:39 PM.
Old 11-14-2012, 02:56 PM
Join Date: May 2000
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I've done it, after having too much garlic bread at Buca di Beppo one evening. 6 hours later, I was exuding such pungent fumes out of my skin that my eyes were actually watering.
Old 11-14-2012, 03:55 PM
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I'd eat garlic on Jello. If I ate Jello. Gotta love it!
Old 11-14-2012, 04:10 PM
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I got stuck on a freight elevator at Kimpo Airport in the fall of 1987. Indian summer, 80ish degrees and forty or so people packed in, the smell of garlic was tear inducing.

I still can't eat kimchi. Smell is a powerful sense.
Old 11-14-2012, 04:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Maui
Posts: 828
N=1... I do not eat garlic. When someone who eats garlic enters a space I am in... I nearly have to run away. What we eat becomes part of us and contributes to our personal atmosphere. Garlic is one of the less subtle elements of diet that affects all outgoing atmospheres.

Thousands of years of history of humans attempting to alter this atmosphere by additions onto the skin.
Old 11-14-2012, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bardos View Post
I do not eat garlic.
Old 11-14-2012, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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Originally Posted by Jake View Post
I'd eat garlic on Jello. If I ate Jello. Gotta love it!
You can put it in aspic.

Oh, and by the way, great OP/screen name.
Old 11-14-2012, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,010
This seems settled but I'll add another anecdotal data point. I loooove garlic, I literally don't think the words "too much garlic" have ever come out of my mouth. I eat it raw, cooked, you name it. If I make out with a girl and can taste the garlic bread she had at dinner, I consider that a bonus

If I have an especially heroic portion of it for dinner, I can definitely detect it on my breath and on my skin the next day. It's subtle but definitely there. I've asked friends who would give an honest answer if I reeked and they've always said no, but at the end of the day if I sniff my undershirt there's a slight odor, like I walked through a kitchen. So in my experience it's definitely true, although I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot of person to person variation.
Old 11-15-2012, 12:20 AM
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Location: NE AZ
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Onions work the same way.

I won't eat raw onions, because I can floss and brush my teeth, scour my tongue, and still taste raw onion hours after eating them.

The way I heard it originally explained to me is that the sulfur molecule in the allium family is metabolized similarly to alcohol, so the byproducts of the metabolism are excreted in the sweat and saliva.

(that's why a drunk smells like booze--the alcohol is excreted in the sweat, saliva, and breath)


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