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
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!