The Healthy Me Podcast

Why Does My Sweat Stink? | The Healthy Me Podcast Episode 010

Welcome to The Healthy Me episode number 10… I’m Trina Felber, Registered Nurse and CEO of Primal Life Organics.  

Are you worried about your stink? Are you frustrated because the only thing that seems to “work” is your chemical-ridden deodorant or antiperspirant? 

Don’t worry. There’s hope.  

You see, your sweat isn’t what stinks. It’s the combination of natural bacteria on your skin plus the sweat that is excreted from your apocrine glands that causes odor.  

But your body needs to sweat, because that is it rids itself of toxins. Block your sweat, and you’re essentially blocking your body’s ability to remove waste and maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem. This could lead to eventual dysfunction in other organs.  

Your body chemistry, menstrual cycle, emotional state, medications, health, diet, and even skincare products can all play a role in your body odor.  

The Stick Up deodorant doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients that could be doing you more harm than good. You may go through a detox period, but if you reapply Stick Up throughout the day as needed, you can eventually move to just a once-a-day application.  

Note how your body odor changes with diet and lifestyle shifts. This awareness, paired with Stick Up, will help you move towards a stink-free and healthier overall future. 

Today I empower you to examine what you are ingesting – internally and externally – so that you can kick that stink while still letting your body do its thing.


So excited to get these questions. I get questions all the time, and I figure why answer them for one person. I bet more than one person has this exact same question. 

So just recently I was doing a little chat, dialog with someone over the internet on Facebook, and their questions was basically, “Why do I stink? I recently tried making the switch to the Stick Up deodorant,” and she’s used other natural deodorants as well, and she says that she’s way past the point of detox. And if you’re not sure what detox is, that basically is a period of time that your body gets rid of the toxins from either what you were using or what’s built up in your tissues. And she feels that she was passed that point of detox, but she still stinks all the time. 

She says, “Am I doomed to use toxic commercial deodorants forever? Why do I stink?” This is from Lois. Well, Lois, I can tell you that you don’t have to stink. You just don’t have to. Sweat itself does not smell. When you sweat, your body odor doesn’t truly have a body odor or doesn’t have to have an odor to it. In fact, the odor that you small comes from normal skin bacteria that is breaking down the sweat secretions from your sweat glands. Body odor mainly originates from two different types of glands, the apocrine glands that are in the armpit, and you also have eccrine glands that are all over your body, like on your forehead and on your abdomen and places like that. 

But the apocrine glands release a thick, oily sweat rich in proteins and lipids, and the bacteria that live on the skin feed on these proteins and lipids, break them down, and that’s when the odor occurs. So body odor can occur during exercise, and also when we feel nervous or anxious or strong emotions, because we are … These are triggers for the apocrine glands to secrete sweat. 

Warm, damp conditions like under the arms or in your groin area are the perfect environment for there bacteria to thrive. So body smells are caused by a number of factors that work in combination. The chemicals that are in your sweat can cause certain odors. Waste excreted through the skin, the actions of bacteria that live on the skin, and even wearing unwashed clothing will also have bacteria still in it, and that, just wearing that when you sweat can also increase the odor. 

Humans, like I said, have two types of sweat glands, the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands. Eccrine glands, like I said, help to control your body temperature, and they’re concentrated on your foreheads, your underarms, the soles of your feet, and on the palms of your hands. And so when you get emotional, a lot of times that’s why your hands start to sweat and you get real sweaty palms. They release sweat with just very little odor. Mostly composed of water, salt, and other trace minerals such as potassium and calcium. 

However, the apocrine glands that are found under your arms and in your genital areas, and your lower abdomen, their purpose is to excrete waste. And that’s very important, because if you’re using an antiperspirant, you are preventing sweat from happening. And if you’re preventing sweat from happening, you’re not allowing the waste products to be excreted from your body, and then those waste products travel and stay in your body and can attack different organ systems and cause disfunction. 

Although sweat has very little odor itself, the bacteria that feed on it, that, like I said, live on the skin, produce this noxious smelling waste product, and this process can take about 20 minutes, and its waste products such as androstenes and isovaleric acid can be produced, and both of those have noxious smells. Icky. 

So, anyway. Other reasons, besides that, that you could smell … Because that’s not just the only reason. The bacteria I’m gonna talk about a little bit more in detail. But other reasons that you can stink include your own body chemistry. You can have some body chemistry. You know, your chemistry cannot mix with certain things like someone else’s does, the breakdown of proteins and things. So you’re own body chemistry can be working against you there. 

It can also change due to a variety of factors such as menstrual cycles. So you may notice more odor around your menstrual cycle if you’re a woman. Emotional state can cause more sweating and more smelling. Health issues such as diabetes and kidney failure and any kind of diabetic or disease process can cause a change in your body chemistry, which can alter your odor. Some certain medications can cause issues with the way you metabolize things. So that, of course, is gonna cause … could cause some different odor issues. Your age. Diet, and I’m gonna talk about diet more specific, and smoking. Smoking can also cause. And alcohol, if you drink alcohol. Alcohol, the way it’s broken down, and you get dehydrated, can also cause … Oh, thank you. [Paleoonthego 00:05:15] got the lavender deodorant. Yay. Hey, Dave. All right. Drug use, as well. That is not just medication, but street drug use can cause body odor. 

So let’s talk about foods, because there are some foods that can cause body odor. And this isn’t for everybody, but this list … Just pay attention to it, think about it, and when you notice a body odor. And also know that sometimes it doesn’t happen right away, so you could eat something today, and then two days later is when your body is metabolizing it and breaking it down into different compounds, and that’s when you’re releasing that through your tissues, and that’s when you might notice the odor. 

So, scientifically, this boils down to the way your body metabolizes the stinky compounds, such as sulfur, that might be found in some foods such as garlic, cumin, and asparagus. So, foods that can cause odor. And this one’s really interesting for paleo people, because we are big red meat eaters. 

Red meat can cause body odor because it’s the breakdown of the proteins, and if you remember that sweat contains proteins, and the bacteria that cause odor thrive on certain proteins. If you eat a lot of red meat, you could have more body odor. So just keep that in mind. I’m not telling you not to eat red meat, because it’s good for you, especially if you’re on a paleo diet, you love that. But on the other hand, keep in mind that you just might not be able to decrease the odor as easily as if you gave up red meat or ate less. So keep that in mind. 

Processed foods, refined sugars, white flours, hydrogenated oils. They’re difficult to digest and produce foul odor not just in your sweat, but in your breath and in your intestines, as well. I do know that if I eat sugar, about two days later I’m going to have to reapply my deodorant because it’s coming out in my sweat, and it’s mixing with bacteria, and it’s causing a nasty odor. Too much information. 

Curry and cumin. Yeah, certain herbs will … or spices will cause a little bit of a change in your body chemistry in the way they’re broken down. Garlic is another one. Garlic produces an odor not just in sweat, but in your breath and all sorts of things. 

Asparagus is another one, because it breaks down to sulfur compounds. So not just intestinal, but you will also smell it in your urine and possibly in your sweat. These are all yummy foods. Vegetable such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. We all know that that might cause intestinal type odors, but it could also come out through your pores and your sweat as well.  

Dairy is another one, and it’s related to the proteins again. The proteins are what the bacteria like to live off of, so the breakdown of the proteins could cause a little bit of odor. 

Alcohol will cause an odor in your breath, and your sweat will smell bad. So if you smell mostly on Saturdays and Sundays, you might relate that to alcohol. 

What about skincare products? That’s something we probably don’t think about. Can you skincare products be causing you to stink? And my answer is yes, and there is a reason for that. Your body naturally produces an oil, sebum, or the natural body oil. And when you use commercial soaps that contain ingredients like SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate, things that contain fragrance or preservatives, these tend to be very harsh, and they strip your skin of your natural oils. And that’s really important, because those natural oils are not just protective, but they also help prevent an overgrowth of this bacteria that can live on your skin, and it’s the odor causing bacteria. 

So natural oils that you secrete contain medium chain triglycerides, MCTs, which is also what you see in coconut oil. You’re natural surface bacteria will consume the glycol portion of that MCT and leave behind medium chain fatty acids. So these fatty acids are on your skin, and these fatty acids actually eat the bacteria and virus and funguses that can cause problems, and part of the bacteria that they eat is this odor causing bacteria. So if you’re stripping away your natural oil, you might be stripping away your natural process of making these medium chain fatty acids to eat the bacteria that’s causing you to smell. 

So the soaps and lotions and deodorants that you’re using that might be containing some of those harsh ingredients could be working against you in the long run. Not just harming in the insides of your body, but actually stripping away your natural defense to not stink so bad. 

So what I need to tell you, what will work, or what can work, is using a natural type of soap or wash, and look for those that don’t have SLS or any fragrance or things like that in it. I do make a body wash bar that does not contain anything harmful. It’s not gonna strip away those natural oils. The Stick Up deodorant or any natural deodorant that you use that doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients … I did a Ask Trina Anything last week about what you can use if you’re caught without your deodorant. There’s a lot of things you can use. But one of the main things was coconut oil contains these MCTs and they help prevent odor, and it all boils down to the bacteria that’s living on your skin. So if you smell in the middle of the day, you can use not just deodorant, but there’s other things you can use. So you can check that one out. 

But just to let you know that if you are switching to a natural deodorant, you may not necessarily never smell. You may get through that detox period. You may even get through the adjustment period, but because of your body chemistry, because of what you might be eating, like red meat and things like that … Thank you, paleoonthego. Because of what your diet entails, because of your exercise level, because of your hormones and things like that, a natural body odor might happen. But getting your body in … Getting in tune with your body and remembering what you’re eating and correlating some of these things can help, and if you reapply the Stick Up throughout the day when you do notice an odor, that odor will go away. 

So I suggest to people just carrying it with you. Most people, after about two weeks, will be able to just apply it once a day. But if your body chemistry and your diet and things aren’t aligned, or if you’re using a body wash that’s stripping your natural oils, then there might be a possibility you’re going to always need to reapply it once or twice. 

So that is my solution, and the reason that you may still stink, even though you eat well and you eat a paleo diet, even though you are exercising, even though you’re using natural products, there are reasons people do stink, not just because you stink. So you might just stink because of what you’re eating or what you’re using. 

So, anyway, anybody have any questions that I can answer? Now would be the time. So, I love talking to people, and I hope you enjoyed this. But if you have any questions for me, I’d love to answer them. You can email those questions to, and you’ll be able to find these on my blog, Thank you, and have a great day. 

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