Scientists figured out where your BO comes from


It's okay, you can admit it ... sometimes, you may stink a little. Now, science knows why.

Researchers from the University of York successfully narrowed down the yucky culprits that lead to gnarly body odor. Here is how the super scientificky (technical term) experimentation worked:

Bacteria breaks down sweat into thioalcohols. Thioalcohols are not the latest rage at parties -- they live in your armpits and smell like "sulfur, onions or meat." Yum. Different bacteria species produce different amounts of the stink molecules and Staphylococcus hominis is the smelliest kid in class.

Dan Bawdon led the study and told NPR that his team isn't very popular around the water cooler since they hang in an environment that pretty much smells like your Uncle Lenny's gym socks. But the team might be moving up the social ladder. The findings may change the way we engineer deodorant and that will make everyone happy. Well everyone but Mary Catherine Gallagher.

While we're on the topic of nasties, science has also narrowed down why people have bad breath. Mel Rosenberg -- who's committed his life to researching your stank mouth -- explains in an awesome TED-ed cartoon where it all comes from.

"Bacteria in your mouth feed off of mucus, food remnants and dead tissue cells," Rosenberg explained. "In order to absorb nutrients through their cell membranes they must break down the organic matter into much smaller molecules. For example, they'll break proteins into their component amino acids and then break those down even further into various compounds. Some of the foul-smelling byproducts of these reactions, such as hydrogen sulfide and cadaverine, escape into the air."

Brushing twice a day, flossing and regular trips to the dentist are all ways to avoid dragon breath. Hey, it happens to the best of us!

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Originally published