If you are new to ketosis, you may find yourself somewhat puzzled by a couple of odd symptoms that can show up in the first few weeks. In short – the dreaded body odor and bad breath.

Now, this can vary from person to person depending on what the state of your health is when you begin the ketogenic diet, and how your body handles the process.

If you are coming from a place of quite poor overall health, with years of eating a typical unhealthy diet, plus smoking and drinking, ketosis is going to happen, but there is also going to be a process of detoxing, in which your body begins to clean itself out during ketosis as it gratefully adapts to your new, ‘clean’ way of living and eating.

There Are 2 Main Causes of Body Odor When You Are in Ketosis

1. Detoxing

This process of detoxing can occur throughout your body, but in particular in your large intestine. A diet that has been high in gluten and refined carbs and low in dietary fibre and fresh, wholesome foods, is likely to have left your large intestine with a fair amount of cleaning out to do. This is the main potential source of the body odour associated with the first phase of going into detox.

Also, it is known that the body can often deal with toxins by locking them away in fat deposits. As your body begins to break these down and get rid of them, it also has to get rid of those toxins.
The downside of all this is that, if your initial ketosis journey is also one of detox, you may well find yourself with a number of slight personal hygiene issues, like excessive and smelly wind, bad breath, sour sweats and an overall feeling of ickiness.

Don’t worry! As anyone who as been through this process will tell you, it is temporary. The major bonus is that you do really feel like you are doing yourself some good whilst all this is happening. And because you know it will only be temporary, you can easily take some measures to speed things along.

Daily salt baths will help your body in a great many ways. The skin is one of the major organs of excretion, along with the lungs, the intestines and the bladder. Bathing in mineral-rich salt water can help your skin to do its thing and will help you stay on top of any sourness that you may be noticing in your sweat.

Colonic irrigation can also be of great benefit in these initial stages, as can massage, which will encourage blood flow to your skin and efficient drainage of the lymph system and improved circulation.

If you are more of an active person, regular exercise is also wonderful for this. It gets the blood flowing and the lymphatic system working and gets your breathing going too, so it’s worth considering even if you have never felt very sporty.

Finally, you can try chewing on natural herbs like parsley or cloves to deal with any bad breath. Or get some natural peppermint oil toothpaste (this is the one I recommend) to help deal with any over-active bacteria in your mouth.

2. Ketones from Ketosis

The other possible source of body odor is the fact that your body will start to produce ketones as a result of the change in your metabolism.

This is much milder than the detox symptoms, and adds up to a ‘fruity’ smell when you pass urine, or a ‘fruity’ smell on the breath.

Depending on the person, it’s not necessarily entirely unpleasant. However, even if you don’t like it, don’t worry, it is, again, a temporary thing. Once your body becomes completely keto-adapted these things are likely to disappear as you will be using the ketones as opposed to excreting them.

The best advice is to drink plenty of water to help your body flush itself out. (And don’t forget those electrolytes). This is highly recommended on a keto diet anyway because you lose water as your insulin levels come under control and you drop that stored glycogen.

Again, mineral baths, massages, and exercise will all help to push this process along. Above all, it is worth remembering that these things are temporary.

In the case of detoxification body odor, you know that it’ll all be worth it because you can smell that whatever that is, is ‘better out than in’, so you are best off pushing through this.

In both cases, these things are basically a good sign, even though they may not feel like it at first. Press on!

Framed image linking to ketogenic diet guides and plans

18 thoughts on “Body Odor in Ketosis – What’s Going On?”

    1. Himalayan salt! A teaspoon a day is great. I also use Lo Salt for potassium… or just make sure you eat an avocado each day. Finally I take magnesium supplements, or I’ll use a body butter or oil which is enriched with magnesium. Hope that helps!

  1. How temporary are we talking? I’m in my sixth week of keto and cannot get rid of the sour taste in my mouth. There is nothing fruity about it 🙁

      1. You might need more metals in your body. That is, Natrium, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Calcium.

        And/or you might need more electrolytes (drinking salted water (0.5-1 teaspoon per a cup, just to feel some saltiness) and more water in general could easily mend that).

        Also, dark green leafy greens contain many metals (my personal favorite is spinach).

  2. I don’t smell anything in my urine but in between my legs, around my vaginal area I’ve been getting a very foul smell, also my armpits smell terrible, even with a stronger deodorant before my shower time it’s bad! It begins only a few hours after I shower. It worsens if I’m active and it’s definitely worse when I have onion so I stopped eating it, any one else experiencing this?? I’m going on my 11th week.

    1. Im experiencing the same thing wish this would hurry and pass it’s embarrassing and irritating 🤦🏾‍♀️

  3. My daughter 15years says that I smell like “old people”. I have been on the Keto diet for 9weeks now and have lost 6 kg. Am I going to smell forever with this new way of eating?

  4. a few years back i went vegan for a few months and was pleasantly surprised that body odor was completely gone. no matter how much i sweated, there was no odor. in fact, i smelled like a plant. when i went back to meat-eating, the typical body odor we all experience returned. meat makes you stinky. has nothing to do with detox or ketosis. if you’re on a meat-heavy diet, that stink is even more concentrated.

  5. I use trace minerals drops and electrolyte concentrate drops. And himalyan salt on my food. Everyday!

    1. Sorry to tell you girls, but I’ve been doing keto for about 18 months and I still have really bad keto pits. It’s like a fruity smell (per my husband words)… But it’s bad and embarrassing. I’ve tried every deodorant and nothing helps! Two other women I know on keto also deal with this… Boo

  6. i’m about four weeks in and i haven’t experienced the bad breath and/or urine smell but my sweat smells like cat pee according to my siblings. Am I in ketosis? is bad breath necessary?

  7. My pits have been smelling like onion for months now. I don’t eat red/white meat either, just fish. The usual showering often and deodorant keeps it under control, though, but boy can I smell when I need a shower.

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