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Why does Asparagus Make Some People's Urine Smell Funny?

Michael Pollick
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Asparagus — a green vegetable belonging to the lily family — has one notorious side effect for some diners who eat enough of it. Within a half-hour of consumption, some people notice their urine has acquired a very pungent odor, often compared to rotting cabbage, ammonia, or rotten eggs. The effects of asparagus on urine are generally fleeting and harmless, but it's not necessarily the consumer's finest hour, bodily excretion-wise.

The good news is that asparagus does not affect everyone in this way. Studies conducted on the "asparagus urine" phenomenon (aren't you glad you didn't volunteer!) indicate that roughly 40 to 50 percent of those tested developed the distinctive odor. Surprisingly enough, there is also a segment of the population who cannot smell the sulphurous fumes of asparagus-laced urine. It is believed that both the generation of the odoriferous urine and the ability to smell it are based on genetics. Only those with a certain gene can break down the chemicals inside the asparagus into their smelly components, and only those with the proper gene can smell the results of that chemical breakdown. What's more, the two abilities aren't always embodied in one person. That is, those who produce it, can't always smell it, and those who can smell it don't necessarily produce it.

Scientists are still not entirely sure which set of chemical compounds contained in nutritious spring vegetable actually cause the smelly pee. The stalks themselves do not acquire a similar odor as they are prepared, so whatever happens most likely happens after ingestion. Experts believe that those with a certain gene produce a digestive enzyme which breaks down the asparagus into various chemical compounds. One of those compounds is called methyl mercaptan, which is the same chemical which gives a skunk its defensive smell. One theory suggests that the veggie breaks down quickly in the body and an enzyme releases methyl mercaptan, which eventually goes through the kidneys and is excreted as a waste product in the urine.

Others suggest that the smell is created by other chemical compounds called thioesters. There is also a compound called asparagusic acid, which, surprisingly, is not found primarily in asparagus. If these compounds are broken down and mixed with the genetically-created enzyme, the results could be a strong smelling urine. This smell is actually considered to be good news, since it proves that the asparagus eater's kidneys are functioning as they should.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to TheHealthBoard, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By anon1001191 — On Mar 21, 2019

I was curious about this phenomenon, since I love and eat a lot of asparagus. It is very noticeable in urine, after eating mass amounts of this yummy veggie. Unlike most views, I tolerate and actually like this unique smell. More asparagus, please!

By anon996254 — On Aug 01, 2016

I must have the asparagus gene. I have the odor and can smell the odor. My problem is compounded though, as I can smell it in my sweat. Is this normal, or could I have a leaky bladder?

It's hard to go long periods of time without sweating. Physical exertion to the point of sweating is good for the body, but sweating in public is extremely embarrassing. My genetic profile says I have more than average Neanderthal in me. I'm wondering if this could possibly be connected with the asparagus gene?

My DNA also shows ancestry from North Africa, Native American, Western Europe, and Ashkenazi/Jewish. Other [probably sulfur related] foods [eggs, broccoli, etc., etc.] also seem to produce this odor in my system. I'm guessing there's no cure [other than a diet absent of these odor producing foods] for the production of this odor in one's body?

More than anything else, this gene and its effects on one's public life seem to be a curse more than annoying, unpleasant, or humorous. Worst of all, I only today connected asparagus [of which I've only consumed about 10 stalks in my entire life] with the odor, and when I try to tell my doctor about the problem, he seems to think it's no big deal or just in my head. How does one stay healthy and not sweat? If geneticists or doctors ever find a cure, treatment or anti-asparagus odor remedy, please let me/us know, ASAP. -- ALF

By anon342089 — On Jul 17, 2013

I have just noticed the horrible smell and was searching for reasons and came across this site and other sites to explain the gross scent. I am new to eating asparagus so I'm not sure if it has happened before.

My question is: how many of you above have trouble with cholesterol? And do any of you also have side effects from alcohol (not getting drunk) but after the smallest sip of any alcohol, your face turns red and you notice it in your heart and breathing? I am curious if this trait is connected to my other problems. I am super sensitive to statin drugs. Please answer.

By anon337848 — On Jun 08, 2013

Although I have been a heavy consumer of asparagus all my life, I never smelled it in my pee until i was 45 years old. But now, it's an incredibly pungent, burning rubber smell. I feel I would have noticed it before, so I feel that this phenomenon is new, but my sense of smell to detect is has always been in place.

By anon330644 — On Apr 17, 2013

Viruses add genes to the genome, and other pathogens may influence genes, also. I stopped getting this odor after an infection with terrible pathogen (I got really sick like many did in the past eight years). Many people who don't produce this urine have been converted by the pathogen. Production of this odor is good thing.

By anon330326 — On Apr 15, 2013

Is it normal to have kidney pain in one side only after eating asparagus?

By anon258843 — On Apr 03, 2012

My mom had this question and I can't believe the results.

By anon253994 — On Mar 12, 2012

I have to say I am surprised at the numbers that did not connect the smell to asparagus. For as long as I can remember I have always known that eating asparagus made my urine smell weird. There are even references to "asparagus pee" in a couple of movies I have seen and I always got a kick out of them.

I always wondered why this occurred though, but was unable to find much info on the subject for many years. I haven't much thought about it since, but tonight i had asparagus and got to wondering again about twenty minutes later when I went to the restroom.

It is very interesting to find that many people do not have the gene to produce the smelly chemical combo. Even more intriguing was that some can't smell the concoction.

Anyway, I love asparagus and can't wait to have some more!

By anon249628 — On Feb 21, 2012

My asparagus urine smells pretty, really pretty. The first time I noticed it I was standing at a urinal wondering who the hell brought flowers into the men's room? It's news to me that it apparently for most people the smell produced is unpleasant. You gotta love sharing knowledge on Al Gore's internet.

By anon202533 — On Aug 02, 2011

Glad to know what it is. I've been eating steamed asparagus for the past few months and I noticed a rubber smell but I couldn't figure it out. I though it was a gyno prob so I went to my gyn but she said I was fine. Wish I could have made the connection sooner.

By anon186128 — On Jun 14, 2011

What a relief to read these posts. I am 57 and noticed bad smelling urine (musty) a couple weeks ago after a barbecue where asparagus was grilled.

The smell went away after a day and I didn't make the connection or worry about it. Last night I ate asparagas at dinner and at bed time and into today my urine has that very strong, musty smell again. I thought I had an infection or maybe worse. I guess if the smell goes away I can chalk it up to asparagus. I will eat it again in a week just to test this.

By anon177666 — On May 19, 2011

My pee smells after eating asparagus but I wouldn't say it smells like skunk. It just has a very pungent smell compared to normal pee.

Then last month, I noticed my pee smelled like skunk and wondered what did it. I think it's because I had shiitake mushrooms that day. The other day I ate some dumplings that had shiitake mushrooms, and lo and behold! My pee smelled like skunk again. So now I know the root cause.

Won't stop me from eating these foods though. Life's too short!

By anon175576 — On May 13, 2011

This has me cracking up! I thought I had some urine infection or that I even had a vaginal infection. I ended up deciding that it was something to do with my urine since I only smelled it when I peed. I recently tried asparagus for the first time and loved it. So the smell was definitely new to me.

By anon175199 — On May 12, 2011

The gene is called the "Goldstein Gene" after the man who discovered it, the late Dr. David Goldstein.

By anon168558 — On Apr 17, 2011

I was wondering why my urine smelled a bit "aromatic" within minutes of consuming this yummy vegetable. I don't get a "sulfuric" smell when I eat asparagus- it just smells like asparagus to me. The smell doesn't bother me and I like how asparagus tastes, so I don't know what the big fuss is all about.

I learned a few things from this article, so apparently I am of the individuals whole can break down the chemical composition and I am also one of the individuals who can smell this chemical composition. And it is good news to know that since I produce this smell, it shows that my kidneys are functioning properly. Interesting enough.

By anon164449 — On Mar 31, 2011

I have been trying to find out why my mother has a bad urine smell like a skunk. She has not had any asparagus, but I was wondering if it could be from too much calcium in her system?

By anon153146 — On Feb 16, 2011

I am eating left over asparagus for lunch today, i absolutely love it and have been used to the after affects for years. Now in-stink-tively I hold my breath.

By anon153105 — On Feb 16, 2011

Why would anyone care what their urine smells like? It's not like you're pissing in a cup in your living room. I've been eating asparagus for about a month now and yeah, my pee stinks but I'm not worried about it. I would stop eating it if my head turned green but that's not happening. All veggies are good for you. --Hugh J.

By anon150451 — On Feb 08, 2011

I had about eight stalks with lighter than normal dinner tonight. Maybe an hour or two later in the bathroom, I was taken aback by the offensive odor. At the time I could only think of the scene in Beowulf and Grendel where the troll pisses foul musk on Hrothgar's doorstep, to the dismay of the Vikings.

After getting wholesome air outside of the bathroom, my head was once again clear enough to connect the fetid abomination to the culprit, i.e. asparagus. I'm just thankful I was pissing into an actual toilet (80s vintage) and hence was fateful enough to have had 3.5 gallons of water diluting the asparagus atrocity.

On a side-note, I don't get fish piss (with the exception of tuna), which pretty much just smells like tuna-fish, i.e., not very offensive. Coffee piss is a 'possibility' for me, although there's definitely nothing foul about it. Coffee mostly just annoys me by forcing unnecessary bathroom visits of short duration, when I can otherwise go wherever and whenever I want with my racehorse of a bladder.

As far as the asparagus rankocalypse goes, I am thoroughly finished with asparagus. The way I see it, we have the gene to sense this repugnance by no mistake. It smells awful for a reason and acts quickly through our systems, presumably so the smell can be associated and attributed to the proper culprit.

I will not be surprised to the slightest that a study will come out in the next five years showing that asparagus has unhealthy side effects (presumably long term). In fact, I expect it.

Asparagus also doesn't get the benefit of having assured me the health of my kidneys, because I never doubted this.

By anon149280 — On Feb 03, 2011

Wow! This is good information. I just had my first sulfur smelling pee from eating asparagus. I peed and was able to smell it. At first I didn't know it was me. I was in a public restroom and there was another lady peeing two stalls down. I felt so bad for her because it couldn't be me. The order was terrible. My pee never stinks.

Well later at home, I peed again and the order was back. It scared the crap out of me. I thought something had to be wrong with me. Before calling the doctor, I searched the internet and found this sight. I had eaten asparagus for lunch. LOL!

By anon146847 — On Jan 27, 2011

Oh thank goodness! I thought something was really wrong with me. I've been eating raw veggies (grinding them first and mixing into my "veggie smoothie"). I recently added asparagus to the mix and started noticing rubber smelling urine. I guess I just have to put up with it, because I'm trying a healthy diet regimen, and heard that asparagus might be the ultimate veggie.

Thank you to all who posted and helped put my mind at ease!

By anon146711 — On Jan 27, 2011

Oh wow. This is so funny. I started peeing a rancid smell last night not too long after dinner. I thought that there might be something seriously wrong with me and was going to go to ER today if it didn't get better. Then I happened to go into the bathroom after my husband this a.m. and could smell that what I want to call a rancid sweet sulfur smell behind him.

When I asked him if his urine stank too, he told me no. We had asparagus for the first time ever last night for dinner with our veggie burgers so I had to look it up about the asparagus. I guess I am one of the lucky ones who can smell it, lol. Glad I can laugh about it now because I thought I was going to die or something, lol.

By anon145216 — On Jan 22, 2011

I'm not sure why one might think so specifically that this phenomenon is the result of amino acid's breaking down, as this is a process occurring regularly in the body--whether you are speaking of the breaking of proteins into amino acids, or amino acid metabolism (also called nitrogen metabolism).

The genetic approach seems to provide an understandable explanation that is, apparently, supported by research. Should some people experience this phenomenon and others not, it would not make sense to say that they do not metabolize proteins/amino acids, as this is a necessary function in the human body.

By anon137008 — On Dec 25, 2010

Every time i eat Asparagus, roughly half an hour later, my urine does have the pungent odor of a dead whale soaked in ammonia. And it doesn't matter how little or much i eat either. I have eaten two stalks before and have had asparagus smelly pee. I think the genetic approach above is funny, but unconvincing. It has to be some sort of breakdown of the amino acids in asparagus.

Well happy eating! Here is a good dressing recipe for asparagus.

3Tbs olive oil

1Tbs red wine vinegar

1tsp dijon mustard.

Whisk and drizzle over asparagus heads. Happy eating!

By anon135685 — On Dec 20, 2010

it's all very interesting. Yes, certainly the science of it all, but to read about what's on people's minds and to know that others have these familiar curiosities as well.

Sso I definitely qualify for the "asparapee", or "puff pee" as someone so affectionately referred to it, and definitely coffee or Earl Gray tea (it's the only one I'll drink besides green or herbal).

Let me also add a couple more to this strange list of pee smells: tuna and Pepsi.

By anon135655 — On Dec 19, 2010

I seriously thought I had a bladder infection or worse cancer and I also thought I might be dehydrated. When I urinated it stunk so bad! Then I recalled what I had for supper and realized after reading this article that its perfectly healthy and totally normal! Yes I have healthy kidneys!

By anon131818 — On Dec 04, 2010

Everyone makes smelly urine from asparagus but only 22 percent of the population can smell it. Those who can will smell it in everyone else's. It only takes half a spear for my to smell. It's not unpleasant, just 'asparagus wee'.

By anon130163 — On Nov 27, 2010

Wow! I tried a new recipe this year for Thanksgiving. Shrimp and Stuffing Casserole with Asparagus (lots of it). Everyone has been talking about the smell and I thought to do the research. We're safe.

By anon129957 — On Nov 26, 2010

I'll be hitting the "BIG 50" next March, and I have always noticed the smelly urine after eating asparagus. I have also noticed it after my mother and/or my son have used the bathroom just before I have used it.

I'm not looking for it, it just happens that way. I know that they are both able to smell it too. I have also noticed that even the smallest amount causes the smell.

I have noticed my urine smelling after other foods and beverages, but not as strongly as with asparagus.

I don't drink beer, as I can't stand the taste of it, but I do smell it after others have used the bathroom just before I have.

By anon129275 — On Nov 22, 2010

I am laughing so hard! Thanks for putting my mind at ease. I noticed our toddler's pee smelled like antibiotic pee when he's on amoxicillin. I then noticed my pee smelled the same. I started worrying so naturally looked it up. Yes, we did have asparagus for dinner and he ate more than anyone. No wonder he smells so bad.

I kept asking him if he spunked in his pants and he kept denying it. The kid wasn't lying. It's just that horrible urine smell. Who would have thought? And it happens because you are healthy?

By anon124558 — On Nov 06, 2010

I had a great time reading these posts; this was informative and fun. I have heard of the Sugar Smack thing too. I get a distinctive smell, not bad, within an hour of eating asparagus, but it goes away within a couple of hours. At least it's not abnormal! Thanks! I am going to have to do some tests based on some comments about coffee. That may be the answer to some of my unexplained odor problems that I know don't come from uncleanliness or disease. Thanks again.

By anon122252 — On Oct 27, 2010

This has happened to me every time I have eaten asparagus. I was looking up why and this page came up. Well, it's neat how perfect God made the body to work and fight the bad stuff if we do what we are supposed to do, (I don't always) but each day is a gift from God. --Indiana Girl

By anon120744 — On Oct 21, 2010

Agree with 199-also has gotten more noticeable with age. nevertheless veggies are good and good for you. Also agree with 1and2!

By anon114704 — On Sep 29, 2010

I swear when I eat asparagus my pee smells like the inside of a grunion's rubber boot with the same stinking socks that he's been wearing for half a generation!

By anon111279 — On Sep 15, 2010

I ate asparagus one night and went to the bathroom and though there was sewer gas coming back up through my commode. Went again later and smelled commode first and then urinated, the smell appeared once again. Ate asparagus again tonight, same results within one hour of consumption.

By anon111201 — On Sep 15, 2010

I love asparagus and have always noticed a distinctive smell when having a pee, but I wouldn't class it as unpleasant -- more like asparagus in garlic sauce smell. sugar puff pee also smells like sugar puffs. Great to know there are others out there -- not that it really concerned me.

By anon110813 — On Sep 13, 2010

I both create asparagus-smell urine and can smell it. I don't care, this is the Cadillac of vegetables. Nothing better with a steak.

By anon109983 — On Sep 10, 2010

Comment: My favorite post was #40. (Throwing off the dogs); My French Bulldog chases me into the bathroom to hang out 'only' while I tinkle after asparagus (lol).

Q: What are the specific two gene names that cause one to a) smell the asparagus pee; and b) produce the asparagus pee? (Assuming there are two distinct genes, got a little unsure after a couple of posts).

There are regional comparisons of genetic lines to those predisposed with these genes per some articles read online.

By anon109845 — On Sep 09, 2010

This is a relief to know that I am not the only one with urine that has a strong odor after eating asparagus. I love asparagus and can put up with the odor since I have one of those marvelous toilet seats (Toto washlet) that cleanses you and takes odors away while sitting on it.

By anon106971 — On Aug 28, 2010

Count me in the group who believes their urine after eating asparagus, smells exactly like cooking/cooked asparagus. Not foul, rotten, sulphur, or anything else. Just asparagus, and not overpowering, yet easily detected without any need to stick your nose near it, just as you don't have to stick your nose in the pan to smell it when cooking it.

I wonder if I have the gene which creates a nasty-asparagus-pee smell, but not the usual gene to smell it, but perhaps another one which lets me smell whatever the characteristic "cooking asparagus" smell comes from. I don't think so, as I've never had the "guy at the next urinal runs away in horror" experience. So I think I produce pee which smells like asparagus, and then can smell it without needing any special gene.

Canned tuna also makes my pee smell like canned tuna. Not nasty, just like having an open can of tuna there. More so with chunk light than solid white, and more so packed in oil than in water.

By anon106043 — On Aug 23, 2010

It will also make your poop black!

By anon103591 — On Aug 12, 2010

Wow!!I ate asparagus for dinner tonight and last night. I thought something was wrong because my urine smelled like sulphur. So before I panicked and made a doctor's appointment, I turned to Dr. Internet and I'm so glad to learn that my kidneys are functioning well as the article states. Cheers to the saying, "You learn something new every day!"

By anon102251 — On Aug 07, 2010

It's the truth. I am not person who blogs for any reason. However, I had to comment because after eating the asparagus, the smell of my urine was horrible. I would have never thought it. I started to worry, until I came online and realized it's natural. It's horrible. To clear the record, it had nothing to do with anything else but the consumption of the asparagus. It has taken two days to clear up! Ugh!

By anon101431 — On Aug 03, 2010

Asparagus and sugar smacks get me, too. But asparagus also makes my back hurt when I eat it. I gave up Sugar Smacks years ago and don't remember them making my back hurt. I hadn't had any asparagus for a few months and last night had some, then really paid the price with the back pain and asparagus pee. Anyone else have have experience?

By anon99743 — On Jul 27, 2010

my urine smells after I eat shiitake mushrooms (smells like the mushroom) and also coffee (smells like cat urine). I drink close to 3/4 of a gallon of water a day and with shiitakem it takes me about 24 hours to get the smell out of my system. With coffee it takes about 4-5 hours.

By anon93452 — On Jul 04, 2010

Commenter 158 - good lord. You're not a doctor. You don't know half of what you're talking about. Stop scaring people with your misinformation. Urine has many reasons why it might smell "odd". If you have a question about your urine scent, call your doctor. That simple.

By anon92548 — On Jun 28, 2010

I just read through some of these posts, and I have to say thank you for making me laugh so hard - I think I peed my pants. Oh man, and I had asparagus tonight! Rats!

By anon91725 — On Jun 23, 2010

Mine smells like rubber after eating asparagus.

By anon91197 — On Jun 20, 2010

I am relieved. I thought I had an infection. Had asparagus, broccoli and carrots stir-fried with garlic last night for dinner. The smell this morning was frightening.

By anon91011 — On Jun 19, 2010

I didn't have the smell before I donated a kidney however now that I have one I noticed the other day I did. I was really concerned but after I found this link I feel much better! LOL

By anon90941 — On Jun 18, 2010

i ate asparagus and now my pee smell like mangoes.

i kept smelling it when i peed, so i looked it up.

didn't know asparagus had that effect. it's very sweet smelling -- just like a fresh mango.

how bizarre.

By anon90744 — On Jun 17, 2010

well i just ate some tantalizing grilled asparagus. as soon as i pee i'm going to swoop down over the bowl for a really good whiff of that distinct odor.

By anon89760 — On Jun 12, 2010

Cool. I usually make asparagus soup with shiitake mushrooms. Double-fun for me, then. I too, have the smell, and so does my father, but my mother doesn't.

By anon89611 — On Jun 11, 2010

what I'm trying to say is that Shiitake mushrooms would produce a pungent smell as well as asparagus, however it may not have an identical smell. For others who have not tried them, try them and post your results as I am curious.

By anon89559 — On Jun 10, 2010

Someone commented that shiitake mushrooms made their urine smell the same as asparagus does. This is not the case with me. I've eaten shiitakes many times and have never noticed that. In face I raised them for a while.

By anon89289 — On Jun 09, 2010

My wife takes a whole lot of medications, so I honestly thought that she puts some of her tablets in the food that she cooks to avoid swallowing the tablets. we eat asparagus almost daily. I was really worried. That is one hell of a horrible smell. Yes urine smells but asparagus urine is the worst kind of smell.

By anon88565 — On Jun 06, 2010

I too have always experienced this immediately after eating asparagus. I also remember when I was a child and after eating Sugar Smacks could smell the sugar smacks in my urine. I quit eating Sugar Smacks because I thought it wasn't good for me.

I also get the same experience after drinking coffee and also has anyone ever tried eating Shiitake mushrooms? The Shiitake mushrooms would produce the same smell as the asparagus would. If you guys have never tried Shiitake mushrooms, try it and post it if you have the same results.

After eating these kinds of foods and producing the pungent smell in the urine, I would always laugh about it. I knew it was connected to those two things I ate.

After reading these posts, I also had a good laugh. Good to know I'm not alone.

By anon85791 — On May 21, 2010

Heh, heh, that's a lot of funny stuff. I ate asparagus last night and my pee stunk all day today. Yes, I've noticed the odor I get after eating Golden Crisp/Honey Smacks cereal, and coffee has a similar effect. B-vitamins seem to have an effect as well, and I sweat garlic when I've had too much.

When I eat a lot of chicken, my natural facial oils take on a certain chicken-broth odor. It seems you truly are what you eat.

By anon85417 — On May 20, 2010

I take MAX - a Glutathione (antioxidant) supplement - and my pee smells exactly like when I eat Asparagus (Asparagus has a high percentage of Glutathione).

By anon84867 — On May 17, 2010

So that's why my whizz has been stinking!

I find a lot of comfort in the fact that it shows my kidneys are pumping away properly.

By anon84347 — On May 15, 2010

I have both genes and I'm glad of it. Funny how nature found a way to test if our kidneys are functioning correctly. A few beers after your kidney test will flush the system back to odor free. love that sparrow grass!

By anon84336 — On May 14, 2010

I love asparagus and have both the genes. It's really not that bad, except I live in a city with a large homeless population, hence a lot of public urination and when I walk to work in the morning, I can tell when the homeless shelters have served asparagus the night before. Eww.

By anon83768 — On May 12, 2010

Brilliant. Trust Google to help me with my asparapee. I also have sugar Smacks pee syndrome. To think I import them into Canada since they're usually unavailable here. Since we're talking odiferous excretia, anyone know why tomato meat sauce causes such sulphur laden smelling gas? Even I am taken aback by the foul odor that I dispense.

By anon83727 — On May 12, 2010

Thank you everyone. I haven't laughed so much in years. I can't even see what I'm typing as I have tears in my eyes! Those pesky green devils!

P.S. I have both genes - bittersweet indeed!

By anon83530 — On May 11, 2010

Yes, I certainly get that smell. I'm glad I decided to look this topic up, because it started to concern me at one time. Now I know I have nothing to be concerned about. Thanks

By anon82831 — On May 07, 2010

I think it's kind of gross to talk about pee.

I have both genes.

By anon82771 — On May 07, 2010

Sounds like someone is over-educated in this group of voices. Yes, asparagus can cause a foul odor in urine, just not with everyone. Mine is extremely foul, as if crossed between burnt tires and rot. I know this sounds disgusting, but is definitely true. Not everyone gets this same effect.

Just thought I would speak up. I deal with folks every day who have slipped between the cracks of the 'too-smart-for-their-own-good' kind.

By anon81823 — On May 03, 2010

You know what everybody? It is urine, and since when is urine supposed to smell good anyway? Isn't that why we flush it?

My wife of thirty years for the first time mentioned after urinating, "Do you ever have really smelly pee after eating asparagus?" We had just had a bunch of steamed asparagus with dinner.

So I urinated and didn't really smell anything, until I bent down and put my head in the toilet bowl and took a big whiff. Sure it stunk. It's urine!

You are what you eat -- or drink. Do you ever notice after drinking a lot of beer that when urinating into the toilet the water foams up like beer? I bet it smells like beer if you put your face in the toilet too. Same for coffee. Smells the same going in as coming out for me.

Drink lots of water, everybody. Hydration is important and may reduce the smell.

My asparagus pee smells like white plastic PVC tubing cut with a hacksaw or bandsaw too. --Comment 44

By anon81463 — On May 01, 2010

one bite is all it takes for the magical smell to occur.

By anon81320 — On May 01, 2010

To many who read more than just the top couple posts, much of the posts here are obviously confused, dehydrated people with or without kidney problems. Let's clear a few things up:

I eat wild asparagus (grown on our land) and the smells that are produced after, can last for several hours, depending on when you last urinated, and how much are drinking. The average population drinks far less than they should.

As already mentioned here, urine should be border-line clear. Too clear and it can actually cause damage to your kidneys as you are drinking much too much. More than a pale yellow, and your body is slightly dehydrated, and even if you do not feel the effects, your kidneys do.

One commenter here noticed that, after reducing soda drinks to water and tea (decaf or caff?) that the strong odor disappeared nearly completely. That's because soda is diuretic, meaning it causes your body to try to get rid of water. This is why after drinking coffee frequently, you'll notice you're making a lot more trips to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, while drinking diuretics and your urine appears more clear than before, this is not a good sign. It means your body is getting rid of water as fast as it's coming in, and your actually causing yourself to become dehydrated. This is why removing caffeine from your beverages is highly suggested.

Some here have said their urine odor after eating asparagus is nutty, or pungent, or musty, or strong, or ammonia smelling, or smells like asparagus (cooking I'm assuming).

If your urine smells nutty, it's not because of asparagus. Something else in your diet or kidneys is causing the smell. Ask a doctor. If it smells fishy, and looks cloudy, you probably have prostate trouble as semen from ejaculating is forced into your bladder instead of out of the penis.

If it smells musty, this may be a sign of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). If you are a woman it is especially important that you see a doctor as this could cause sterility if it worsen and is untreated. Musty smell, only noticed on days you eat asparagus, is normal, and you will find that when you are properly hydrated, and have the extra genes this is the normal smell.

Even though it's published here that its smell is sulfurous, or "rotten egg" smelling, this is also due to the fact you are partially dehydrated, and in correlation to the amount of asparagus eaten.

To Poster #150: the reason your daughters cannot smell asparagus on your urine, but on their own, is most likely that you have either, #1 urinated too close to eating and the chemicals have not sufficiently built up in the urine stored in the bladder to be detectable, or #2, your body does not contain the gene to break down the asparagus into the odorous chemicals.

If you cannot smell it on their urine, you do not have the gene to smell it.

Please people, understand: it takes two difference genes to smell and produce. Obviously if you smell it on your own urine, you have both genes. If you do not smell it on your own urine, you may have only one gene, or neither. Poster #150, please also note that drinking too much v-8 can actually poison you from exceedingly high doses of vitamins.

Some v-8 (available in my area) contains either 100 percent or nearly 100 percent of the DV (daily value) in one 8 oz cup. If you enjoy one with every meal and when you get thirsty, you could easily top 500 percent of your DV in one day. This is detrimental to your system. For the sake of your kidneys, do not do it.

There is a reason the saying "everything in moderation" is known by all. It's because too little or to much can harm you. some vitamins can actually be fatal if ingested too much!

For everyone else, please see your family doctor, or contact your local hospital and ask to speak to a nurse about symptoms. It's free and can be confidential!

By anon81219 — On Apr 30, 2010

I have the asparagus pee stench also and noticed that the stench is stronger when I eat fresh asparagus verses the canned version. It is also getting stronger as I'm getting older!

By anon78478 — On Apr 18, 2010

The comments on here have me in tears from laughing! Thanks to you all for sharing your asparagus pee experiences and humor.

By anon77756 — On Apr 15, 2010

What about onions? While I get the "asparagus pee", I've been noticing "onion smelling sweat".

I swear my armpits smell like a double burger with onions. Could this be caused by the asparagus? I haven't eaten too many garlic / onion things lately and I drink a ton of water every day. Thanks.

By anon76726 — On Apr 11, 2010

I can't believe that until age 60 I had no idea about asparagus pee! It is really strong once you start looking (smelling) for it! I can also smell the odor from my husband's pee as well (I know, TMI), but apparently he can't. That seems so strange, as he has a much better sniffer than I do!

By anon76556 — On Apr 10, 2010

both my wife and I get the smelly urine. It actually smells like asparagus when it comes out. Kind of funny.

By anon76060 — On Apr 08, 2010

I love asparagus. Never noticed an odor after eating it though. However, both my daughters complain that they have the odor each and every time.

I only drink water and V8, no other drinks -- well maybe the occasional green tea in the morning -- and have even asked my daughters if they could detect the odor in my urine. They cannot so i continue to eat it.

I always wondered why, though. So many different answers, I guess I still really don't know.

By anon75546 — On Apr 07, 2010

I love that everyone gets their spouse, children and neighbours to smell their urine after consuming those devilish greens! Sharing is caring, after all.

By anon75254 — On Apr 06, 2010

Wow. Knowing that my urine can smell really, really bad after eating asparagus is fantastic news!

It will come in great next time I want to really "Piss someone off."

By anon74906 — On Apr 04, 2010

I can appreciate the entire pros and cons for eating asparagus but it is my opinion that if you have a sensitivity to the enzymes in or created by digestion of asparagus then you might in fact have an issue.

For me, the only thing of a negative nature about asparagus is the urine smell. Otherwise it reminds me of grams house and I love it.

By anon74896 — On Apr 04, 2010

I thought this was something that everyone experiences until I asked my brunch hosts this afternoon how quickly it happens to them after eating asparagus. They had never heard of this, so I decided I needed to explore the topic! Thank you for the information!

By anon74507 — On Apr 02, 2010

Re #137: I totally agree with you. Along with most of the others.

By anon74398 — On Apr 01, 2010

Has anyone considered if there is a correlation between the ability to smell asparagus urine and the skin disorder Tinea (sp?) I was told that tinea is also caused from certain enzymes in the body. I can smell asp. urine and also have tinea.

By anon73562 — On Mar 28, 2010

I have smelled my skunk pee after asparagus. Nothing unusual there, but ever since I had a terrible bout with kidney stones about 10 years ago, I cannot eat asparagus because it makes my kidneys bad and bleed. Makes me think that whatever is in asparagus is not so good for you.

By anon73540 — On Mar 28, 2010

I have noticed that since I have been eating asparagus and have experienced the strong urine smell afterwards that the earth's temperatures have been rising!

We need to fund another study that posts a freshman in the restroom with a thermostat as a neutral observer.

By anon73433 — On Mar 27, 2010

I came to the internet because of a "nutty" smell to my urine last night (as another commenter called it). Being a nurse it immediately smelled like diabetic urine to me.

I could only think that the only thing I had eaten that day, that was different, was the asparagus. I'm glad to find out that asparagus is the cause of the funky urine smell.

By anon70501 — On Mar 14, 2010

I have a highly developed sense of smell- which can be pretty annoying! Have aspara-wee and get fish wee too which is really off-putting. I had one tiny mouthful of my husband's cod at lunchtime yesterday (which I love) but now wish I hadn't!

Adore asparagus- and thought I was weird til I spotted the relation. Also rather worrying is eating beetroot and passing red coloured wee or poohs! Ohhh!

By anon69930 — On Mar 10, 2010

Am I the only one who thinks that the strong odor actually smells like asparagus? I never questioned where the smell was coming from because I immediately recognized the asparagus relationship.

By anon68713 — On Mar 03, 2010

I have known for years I was different as no one else talked about their smelly urine. Most of my family do not have the genes but I thought the smell was not that bad.I wonder if it helps your body rid itself of bad stuff.

By anon68344 — On Mar 02, 2010

Very interesting. I am a 67 year old male and I have always had a strong urine odor for awhile after eating asparagus.

However, three weeks ago I stopped drinking pop and started drinking carbonated ice tea or water. Since then, (on three separate days) I have had three large portions (1/2 pound plus each) of asparagus and have experienced no urine odor whatsoever. I assume that it is the water? Thanks for listening. HBT

By anon68300 — On Mar 01, 2010

Looks like it's a normal thing. I thought I was getting ill.

By anon67381 — On Feb 24, 2010

I am 77 and have noticed the asparagus urine smell since I was a teen, but thought everyone experienced it. Mine has not been unpleasant, just pungent and distinctive.

Recently, though, my urine began have a very similar smell daily even though I didn't eat asparagus daily. I was happy to see the reference to alpha-lipoic acid, since that is a supplement I have been taking. I think I'll lay off it awhile and see if I notice a cessation.

By anon67295 — On Feb 24, 2010

One reason why you have a strong odor is because you are not hydrated and you are urinating a highly concentrated dose of 'asparagus urine'.

If you urine is the color of the Cheerios bee or Post-It note and not boardline clear, drink more water each day; especially if you're eating asparagus and you won't have such a strong pungent odor.

By anon67252 — On Feb 23, 2010

I disagree with those saying all people create the odor, but some people cannot smell it. I have always created a strange urine scent after eating asparagus and I can clearly detect it.

However, having shared the urinal trough with others that have eaten it and not being able to detect it their bodies must have processed it differently.

By anon66825 — On Feb 21, 2010

I went to the web to find out why my urine smelled like ripping paper tape. I'm OK now. thanks so much. no more asparagus.

By anon66733 — On Feb 21, 2010

I not only get the asparagus after urine, but also after eating fish. I know it is not uncleanliness.

I was glad to see no 94 addressed this issue.

By anon66208 — On Feb 18, 2010

I have noticed this every time I eat this vegetable. I thought is was normal until I realized that not all of my family had the same outcome. After having asparagus for dinner last evening are being reminded a couple of hours later, sniff, sniff, I decided to look it up here. Great to know that I am not alone and not ill. Also good to know my kidneys work well.

By anon66151 — On Feb 17, 2010

To the person that mentioned Sugar Smacks. Yes whenever I eat Honey Smacks or any brand of puffed wheat cereal my urine smells like puffed wheat cereal.

I also produce a strong asparagus urine. I think the puffed wheat urine is worse, just because it smells like I peed pure puffed wheat.

By anon66125 — On Feb 17, 2010

Post 114: you are not alone on the sugar smack pee. My sister and I have joked about it for years. We've always wondered if others in the bathroom could tell we had eaten Sugar Smacks for breakfast.

By anon65990 — On Feb 17, 2010

Thanks God there's nothing wrong with me. Five hours ago I ate asparagus for dinner. I just peed 15 minutes ago and my pee had a very strong smell. I was a bit worried.

By anon65529 — On Feb 14, 2010

Our son also has the gene like me. Glad to know what and how asparagus affects some people. Very interesting comments.

By anon64893 — On Feb 10, 2010

Thanks for posting all these comments. I had asparagus last night for dinner and wow! Went to the restroom a few minutes ago, 2 a.m. here, and got so worried about the odor that I ran in here to the computer to look up what caused it. Now I know and I'm going back to sleep, no longer worried that I have some awful disease.

By anon62878 — On Jan 29, 2010

Hm. Well, I've noticed the skunk pee every time I've eaten asparagus. Since my first time to even try asparagus was a year ago (I'm 29), I figured right away that it had the reason for the skunk pee, because I have been eating everything else served up all my life, and none of them had caused it.

And interesting that everyone describes a different smell: I've read "wine", "grape juice", "burning rubber", "primeval swamp." Mine smells straight up like roadkill skunk that's been sitting out for a few hours on a miserably hot July afternoon.

I've noticed this with many sulphurous foods. Avoid me like the plague if I've eaten broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower, because not only do I have skunk pee, but they all give me the raunchiest farts known to man!

By anon62098 — On Jan 24, 2010

I finally got the answer too.

By anon59454 — On Jan 08, 2010

I was getting really worried because last night was the first time I've ever eaten asparagus (which is sad because I'm almost 19). Then I remembered a line from Elf. "Picture this: a group of asparagus, but they're subconscious* about the way their pee smells." Thanks Elf for teaching kids about the magic of Christmas *and* that asparagus makes your pee smell funny! [:

I don't think subconscious is the word I'm looking for.

By anon58975 — On Jan 05, 2010

This has been happening to everyone in my family for as long as we can remember, and I always wondered. It's good to know that it isn't harmful, and if it has something to do with genetics, then it makes sense that my relatives would experience the same thing. It doesn't smell that bad, though, just really strong and strange.

By anon58440 — On Jan 01, 2010

I was getting the smell today throughout the whole day, finally i searched it and voila! yes, i did in fact eat asparagus!

By anon58092 — On Dec 30, 2009

Thank goodness! I could smell the funky pee and had to get on the net to see what could be causing it. Seems like everyone who's posted had a similar experience. Glad to know it's a common, natural thing.

By anon56951 — On Dec 18, 2009

Thanks for this. Ate asparagus with dinner last night. Smelly pee ensued. Then continued through this afternoon and I became concerned and turned to the source of all knowledge -- the internet. Glad to read this, but I've eaten asparagus countless times before and never have I noticed this smell.

My boyfriend has noticed he has smelly pee as well today. :D Wonder why it only happens sometimes? The case seems the same for most of the other folks who commented here.

By anon56444 — On Dec 15, 2009

Does anyone have funny smelling pee from eating sugar smacks? Asparagus and sugar smacks both effect the smell of my urine.

By anon56074 — On Dec 11, 2009

This is mistaken: we all make the odorous compound, but only 40 percent-ish can smell it. This has been proven several times in robust scientific tests.

By anon54645 — On Dec 01, 2009

To the person with the Factor V mutation (#71). Asparagus has about 460-520 mcg per serving (Leafy greens have the most - up to about 9000 mcg).

Anyway, increased vitamin K intake decreases the effectiveness of warfarin. Warfarin targets the coagulation factors. Aspirin affects the platelets, specifically cyclooxygenase. So, I would think that decreasing vitamin K consumption would help in people at high risk for thrombosis, but it doesn't affect aspirin at all -- only warfarin.

By anon53931 — On Nov 25, 2009

Thank goodness. I was getting a little worried about that.

By anon53046 — On Nov 18, 2009

I don't find it offensive. Pungent, though. Sort of smell one might expect from a primeval swamp. I figure asparagus must be good for you if it makes your pee smell funny! LOL.

By anon52921 — On Nov 17, 2009

that is so weird that chemicals make pee smell weird.

By anon52535 — On Nov 15, 2009

well, thank goodness. Was wondering what was going on -- skunk pee.

By anon52431 — On Nov 14, 2009

It doesn't smell bad to me at all. it's not foul, it's just a very strong chemical-like smell. It smells like something your body shouldn't be emitting at all, lol - but thankfully I found out a while ago about this phenom, and didn't worry long.

By anon51947 — On Nov 10, 2009

I love that smell I eat them every day. I think I am sick. But Asparagus is great.

By anon51865 — On Nov 09, 2009

If you do smell it, you should be tested for the Mthfr gene as there is some co-relation, and if that is the case methylated b-vitamins are needed to supply the need.

By anon51132 — On Nov 03, 2009

So, following the comment on espresso/cappuccino effect on urine, I have noticed that coffee drunk early in the a.m. or sometimes on an empty stomach makes the pee smell like tuna fish. I have had others corroborate this. Wonder what the story is there?

By anon49375 — On Oct 20, 2009

Confirmed. About half an hour after consumption, the last few nights when I've eaten a dozen stalks, it's same thing every time. Detox must be working and my kidneys must be more functional than I gave them credit for! Hooray for asparagus. I'm going back for more!

By anon48003 — On Oct 08, 2009

I also had to look up this interesting thing. My pee kind of smelled "nutty" and I got worried, because I am slightly diabetic, so it worried me, but I did have some asparagus for dinner last night and that evening is when I noticed it. Thank you God. I feel better now.

By anon47398 — On Oct 04, 2009

I was bugging out! i ate a box of asparagus with my daughter, i thought something freaky happened. Because not only did my urine smell, hers did as well. I'm glad i read this.

By anon47370 — On Oct 04, 2009

I am certainly glad that I ran across this site re: asparagus and urine smell. I have noticed this for years but never heard anyone else mention it. It is a relief to know that it is quite common. I apparently have both genes. But the odor although strong is not terribly offensive. However the real benefit seems to be that it also has some medicinal effect. I have an enlarged prostate and for various reasons have difficulty urinating as well as it is painful. However eating asparagus regularly relieves the both the difficulty and the pain. Does anyone else notice anything like this. I am certain that it is not just "in my head" type of thing.

By anon44852 — On Sep 11, 2009

Thank goodness! I was confused as to what would have been causing this unusual pee smell. At first I thought it was the salad dressing I was pouring on my asparagus. I kept asking my husband if he had the same pee smell but he can't even smell anything. Now, I feel special because not only do I have the genes to break it down, I also have the 'correct' genes to smell it.

By anon42144 — On Aug 19, 2009

I have always noticed my asparagus pee and never really minded. Then had a bad case of the flu which really affected my sinuses and I lost some of my ability to smell, including detecting asparagus. After about a year my nose finally recovered and I can once again detect asparagus pee. I always felt reassured from it that my kidneys were working well.

By anon40363 — On Aug 07, 2009

I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion here. Now, I wish everyone would comment on fishy smelling urine after eating fish or seafood. I know I'm not the only one. I don't have a yeast infection and it's really not very funny! I am a beach bunny who loves seafood, but OMG! that odor on the day after! It lasts for 1-3 days depending on the amount of fish consumed. I also take Omega 3 supplement that produces a mild smell a couple of hours later. I don't have body odor, bad breath and considered by most to be extremely healthy. Any ideas?

By anon39055 — On Jul 30, 2009

This little section of information was very helpful for me. The other night I had 4 stalks of asparagus with my dinner and maybe an hour or two later when I went to the bathroom, my urine had a definite odor. I thought "okay, this is really weird..." because I eat asparagus quite often and it has never caused my urine to smell prior to this incident. So, naturally I thought I'd Google the issue and this information was exactly what I needed to see. Thanks! It's very interesting that only some people have the gene to break down the asparagus into its "smelly components" or the gene that allows their noses to detect the odor in urine afterwards. I, quite amusingly (to myself anyhow), quite clearly possess both genes LOL. Yes, very interesting topic indeed!

By anon38953 — On Jul 29, 2009

Spinach, specifically fresh, seems to have a similar effect. Maybe these heavy greens have something in common.

By anon38064 — On Jul 23, 2009

so according to this article I am some sort of XMEN genetic freak. I can not only produce this super pee,but smell it miles away.

I will use this newly found super hero ability in NYC's finest subway and bus stops.

By anon37049 — On Jul 16, 2009

I have always had the stinky pee, though I thought it smelled a bit more like steamed broccoli gone awry, it wasn't sulphuric. anyway, I find it very interesting that there are those who can and cannot smell it or produce it. Are there people who can smell the rank piss but cannot produce it and vice versa? That could lead to some good humor in the restroom.

By anon36650 — On Jul 13, 2009

Praise God and glory!!! I thought something was horribly wrong with me! I love love love asparagus and never noticed my urine smelled different before. Last night, on the otherhand, after eating fresh asparagus for dinner, I nearly freaked when the pungent odor wafted up from the toilet. Never in my life had I smelled something so horrid! Sulfur is the most comparable scent I can think of to describe it. And having never heard of the asparagus related issue, I immediately started to worry. Thank you, wisegeek, for this very informative and entertaining post! It sure helped ease my mind!

By anon35543 — On Jul 06, 2009

anon2326--there is a link between the asparagus pee and the espresso pee...they both have the diuretic effect...therefore they are both highly broken down in the kidneys

By anon35142 — On Jul 02, 2009

Hello, having a mixed family of asparage'ers it would appear the the ability to smell is the dominant gene, not the ability to process asparagiel content.

Either way its a hit or miss whether your post aparagus pee smells or not!

By anon34546 — On Jun 24, 2009

BTW - if you drink the pee, it delays dementia. Pubmed it if you care.

By anon34401 — On Jun 22, 2009

*Everyone* makes stinky urine after eating asparagus - only a few can detect the odor.

By anon33986 — On Jun 15, 2009

I've had a pint of asparagus soup one day and I almost passed out in the toilet.

By anon33497 — On Jun 07, 2009

Thank you for educating me on the smell of pee after eating asparagus. I honestly believed that my kidneys were going to fail. I feel better now.

By anon32770 — On May 26, 2009

With fresh asparagus in season, we have eaten a lot. My 5 year old *loves* it and had about 10 stalks tonight. When he used the bathroom before his bath, he said "ooooohhhh Mommy something stinks in here!" I laughed because I knew he had smelly urine from the asparagus. (me too). Glad to hear it is soo common. I thought we were the only ones and didn't really want to ask.

By msb — On May 17, 2009

I feel special, I have both genes...lol. I thought it happened to everyone.

By wingecarves — On May 15, 2009

In the Mike Myers movie, Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery, Austin Powers is urinating while pretending to be a fountain, while doing this he goes undetected until he eats some asparagus. After eating the asparagus the other guy in the room starts crinkling his nose as if to smell something offensive.

By anon31826 — On May 12, 2009

I, too, have both genes. I remember my mother telling me that asparagus would do this when I was a teen, but at that time I didn't eat asparagus because I thought it looked slimy and gross. As an adult, my tastes had changed, and I ate a whole bunch of it. The next time I went to the bathroom - forgetting what mom had told me - I thought something was seriously wrong with me and was relieved when I was reminded of what I'd forgotten.

I have also noticed, fresh asparagus produces a stronger odor than the frozen asparagus.

By anon31747 — On May 11, 2009

Indeed, even Ben Franklin was intrigued with how asparagus made his pee smell. Here is a quote from his writings: ".........Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odor; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets......" Do a search for urine, asparagus, and Ben Franklin and you will find he did some interesting writing about bodily functions.

By anon31449 — On May 05, 2009

Must read!

Alas you may hate the smell, please note that the asparagus is fighting infections and removing harmful salts and wastes in your digestive track/kidneys. This may have something to do with the odor some experience after ingesting asparagus.

Optional story to read:

My dad after being catheterized got a urinary tract infection, so we made him have some asparagus(steamed) and he feels so relieved & it's a great help. Please eat some asparagus you'll feel so detoxified after!

By anon31283 — On May 02, 2009

Both my husband and I, and our two children produce what we have always called "aspara-pee". My 7th grader who is studying genetics informs us that it is a dominant gene in our family. We all seem to be super sensitive to asparagus, because if there are just two small pieces in a dish, we still get aspara-pee! But we do love asparagus!

By anon31035 — On Apr 28, 2009

I too have the smelly asparagus pee, but in my research I've found my urine less smelly after eating Trader Joe's frozen asparagus spears vs the more aromatic fresh vegetable. My smell is more earthy, like wet dirt. I don't mind it so much but I feel bad for the woman who uses the stall right after me, but hot darn it I loves me some asparagus!

By anon30215 — On Apr 15, 2009

There is a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called "Love In the Time of Cholera" wherein one of the secondary characters, a doctor by the way, eats asparagus daily for the very purpose of producing fragrant urine. If I hadn't read that book years ago I would indeed have been worried.

By anon30174 — On Apr 14, 2009

I'm curious if there was any correlation between the people who produce the odor and the people who can smell it. I guess if you can't smell it, you wouldn't know you have the "condition"!

By johnstonae — On Mar 31, 2009

I wonder if this gene that allows us to break asparagus down into its smelly compartments is linked in any way to the gene I inherited that causes my blood to clot? The blood disorder is called Factor V Leiden, and I had a TIA when I turned 30 due to being on the Pill and having this disorder (unbeknownst until the TIA). Now, I take a regular aspirin daily to keep my blood thin, and wonder if I should even be eating asparagus due to the high amount of Vitamin K?

By anon28934 — On Mar 24, 2009

I would like to note that I am currently in Catalonia enjoying one of the best wild asparagus harvests of recent times. Checked this page because getting the pee smell good and strong in close proximity to the several doses of asparagus cooked in various local styles we have enjoyed over the last few days. I can positively guarantee my friends land that this asparagus came off has not been fertilized in living memory if ever, in conclusion fertilized or not the effect is the same - or even I suspect greater for the wild and therefore unfertilised variety.

By donthecousin — On Mar 13, 2009

bookworm says: "these fertilizers were used for other vegetable too, so why does only asparagus have this unique characteristic?"

Your question answers itself: It's the asparagus, not the fertilizers.

I imagine there were no recorded comments about the smell before the 1800's because there was no internet then. :-)

Seriously, I thought there was something seriously wrong with me until I did a simple search here. Apparently I have the gene for producing the smell, and the gene for smelling it too. Lucky.

bookworm, one more thing, your idea that maybe it is the fertilizers can be easily checked. Grow organic asparagus, feed it to alleged odor-producers, smell the results.

By anon27742 — On Mar 04, 2009

we have a family of five and all have the post- asparagus consumption funny smelling pee syndrome. we all think it smells like burning rubber. i am amazed how quickly it happens, it ate asparagus 40 minutes ago and when i peed it was there loud and clear. smells like a tire retread factory to me. is asparagus possibly a natural diuretic....

By anon26513 — On Feb 14, 2009

Sitting reading this with my good wife, both of us experience smelly pee, and always blamed asparagus but never were sure. Having a laugh now, this post is very true. Good to know that it is a good sign.

Great article. Paul & Sheena

By geekfest3000 — On Jan 15, 2009

A friend and I recently had lunch at a posh restaurant in downtown Atlanta. I ordered grilled salmon with asparagus. About 4 to 5 hours later (by this time I was off of work) I noticed a foul odor while urinating. Later that evening my husband and I took my daughter to see a play and needless to say we both had to use the bathroom. I kept smelling this sulfuric acid smell and thought it was because I was taking probiotics. I also take flax seed oil and a multivitamin. I'm also experiencing signs of a yeast infection and believe that to be a side effect of the probiotics. It's very interesting to read all of the comments regarding asparagus causing the odiferous smelling urine - I never knew the chemical compounds contained in this wonderfully tasting green vegetable could be causing such an uproar (smile) - but to be on the safe side, I will have my primary care physician or gyn do a thorough urinalysis - my health is everything and I'd rather be safe than regretfully sorry in the end...the comments on this blog are great!! :)

By alphacat63 — On Jan 06, 2009

For those of you subject to random (urine) drug testing- think of this as a great way to mess with people. While I was still in the National Guard, we were subject to random drug testing. Each night before and during drill, I would eat as much asparagus as I possibly could. My apologies to the poor chump who had to open those bottles at the lab!

By anon23867 — On Jan 04, 2009

I had fresh asparagus last night, and got the smelly pee. I don't remember this happening before, but maybe the out of season asparagus imported here is different from the local in-season variety? The odor was quite strong, but did not really smell sulferous, rubbery or skunky to me. It smelled like stale pee that had been in a unflushed toilet for a few days.

By bookworm — On Jan 03, 2009

One interesting fact I came across regarding the odor in asparagus is that historical references to the smell date only to the time when fertilizers containing sulfur started to be used in agriculture, which was sometimes in the 18th century. Even though references to asparagus date as far back as a few millennia, no references to the odor can be found.

That still leaves one question though, these fertilizers were used for other vegetable too, so why does only asparagus have this unique characteristic?

By anon23080 — On Dec 16, 2008

Funny that some say it makes their smelly pee smell good. Mine smells like death. Anyone who has ever smelt a dead cancerous body knows that awful smell - it's terrible. And I've added more vegetables to my diet and was thinking this strange stinky smell was the asparagus, and alas it was. I thought something was rotting inside me!

By anon22794 — On Dec 10, 2008

Neither methyl mercaptan, thiol esters nor asparagusic acid are amino acids. To be an amino acid a compound must contain both an amine group "-NH2" AND a carboxylic acid group "-COOH". Methyl mercaptan is another name for methanethiol, which is similar to methanol but with a sulphur atom in place of the oxygen atom, it contains the thiol group "-SH" (formula: CH3SH).

Thiol esters are made from the reaction between a thiol and a carboxylic acid - no amine group present.

Finally, asparagusic acid has a pentagon shaped structure with 2 sulphur atoms in the bottom 2 corners of the pentagon and 3 carbon atoms in the other corners, and a carboxylic acid group (-COOH) attached to the central carbon (sticking up from the pentagon shape). Again, no amine group.

The enzymes involved in digesting the asparagus to produce the smelly chemicals are made from proteins, the building blocks of which are amino acids.

By cherylloves — On Nov 19, 2008

I had sauerkraut about 4 days and I had asparagus about an hour ago. I just noticed my vaginal secretions (after sex, poor husband) smelled exactly like sauerkraut, and my pee smelled really strong. Im in a gross way. Im glad I found this site, or I would be going crazy.

By rosey — On Nov 07, 2008

Thanks to the person who reported urine smelling of asparagus after taking alpha-lipoic acid supplements. I seriously thought my kidneys were playing up as I had not eaten any asparagus and yet there was that smell!

I have written to the manufacturers of this product, in my case, Bioceuticals Lipoec 200, to ask them to include on the label "Do not be alarmed if urine smells of asparagus when taking this supplement, this is normal and nothing to worry about".

I hope they take this seriously. I would never have tweaked except for this website - thanks a lot!

By Herbo — On Nov 05, 2008

Some years ago I attended an auction whereby the house contents were to be auctioned first, followed by the house itself. As we were moving from one room to another, the auctioneer said that anyone caught stealing anything that was up for auction would be placed in the village stocks at the height of the asparagus season. I immediately burst out laughing while other people gave the auctioneer and I some rather funny looks. It was priceless!

Think about it. Ugh!

By anon20458 — On Oct 31, 2008

There once was a man from Algiers

Who ingested asparagus spears.

Soon his urine did reek

So he rushed to wisegeek.

Where discussion allayed all his fears.

By anon20122 — On Oct 26, 2008

Well, this is very interesting. I had asparagus for lunch today and not long later went to the toilet before going for a walk. I thought 'ewww the toilet needs cleaning' and wondered whether the pipes were playing up again.

On the walk I mentioned what I had eaten for lunch to my friend who asked me if it made my pee smell. I replied "no". Anyway, I have just been to the toilet again and sure enough there was that smell again. Now the toilet didn't smell when I went in so it has to be me! Guess I do get asparagus wee. I find this all very interesting, can't wait to ask hubby if he gets it, hehe.

By anon19966 — On Oct 22, 2008

I find that alpha-lipoic acid makes my urine smell the same way asparagus makes my urine smell.

My guess is is that asparagus and ala both have Glutathione and maybe that is what makes the pee smell.

By anon19829 — On Oct 20, 2008

Very interesting blog' I also searched for smelly urine to find this blog. I have a quite different twist on this one; my urine smells just like asparagus when it is cooking. I have had this happen every time I eat the stuff; I was thinking that I was a little strange; well I guess my condition is different. It makes me laugh every time that I urinate after eating it, it smells like dinner is served all over again....Ha ha...

By anon18614 — On Sep 26, 2008

Wow I'm really happy that it was nothing bad. I happened to start smelling the foul pee last week and finally got around to looking it up only to discover that asparagus can cause a foul smell in urine. When I read that a light went on in my head. Last week I started eating asparagus at least twice a day at meals. Well I'm glade that not everyone can smell it. YAY!

By weasel — On Sep 12, 2008

I have been a huge fan of asparagus since a child. We grew it in our garden. I am almost 50 and recently I ate some for the first time in quite a while. That evening I noticed the rotten smell when urinating. I also noticed a different 'effect' later that evening. Seems it also works well for me as an E.D. product. I have tried many E.D. products, all with little or no success but always with headaches the day after. I have discovered that asparagus works better with no other side effects other than the urinary smell. I have tested this theory several times to make sure the asparagus was the culprit. It seems to be and boy am I happy about that. That was what I was trying to look up when I came across this. Has anyone else experienced this effect?

By anon14514 — On Jun 18, 2008

This has been a topic of discussion in my house over the last year. I produce the smell and can detect it. It doesn't smell like rubber to me. If you've ever cut PVC tubing with a hacksaw, however, it is exactly the same smell. My wife had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned it to her, so she either can't smell it or doesn't produce it, or both.

Poster anon 12712 asks: "Also I'm a woman does that make a difference?" Yes. You can bear children.

By anon14116 — On Jun 10, 2008

Does anyone else notice a similar smell after eating sauerkraut? We had reuben sandwiches last night -- and soon after, smelly pee.

By anon14091 — On Jun 10, 2008

Glad to know what the answer finally is!!!! I've been wondering about this for years! My pee smells like the goldfish bowl water I used to change every other day when I was a child and had a goldfish for a pet. lol

By anon13161 — On May 20, 2008

This byproduct is nearly a miracle. I learned that adding some of the smell to my exterior latex paint is a good way to repel boll weevils and australian fire ants from my cottage. Remember that next time you paint your siding. But then again, living this far north I might never encounter those pests. And I hear it works best on pastel colours. However, marking your property lines does keep the wild animals away, but might be dangerous in mating season.

By anon13095 — On May 19, 2008

I love the smell! Every May I look forward to fresh, local asparagus. I'll eat the stuff for 5 days straight and go on a peeing spree. I'll mark my own property lines and if the occasion allows, I'll get some of the neighbor's too. Totally throws off their spaniels. It's day 4 of the 1st May harvest and I have concocted a nutty aroma that is not unlike a can of salted pecans. These are the moments worth living for!

By anon13009 — On May 17, 2008

good to know that am normal, and that it's something quite common :)

By steph007 — On May 17, 2008

I also feel different smell of my urine after eating asparagus, but that smell is not disgusting or displeasing at all, that is even pleasurable like some exotic ointment extracted e.g. from rose or else.

By anon12884 — On May 15, 2008

I have only recently become a fan of asparagus, and I too produce the 'rubber' smell, as does my partner - I can smell it but he can't!! A lady at work told me about it and I had to test it out!! ha ha!

By anon12747 — On May 13, 2008

I like asparagus raw sometimes...and I smell like something sweet like a yeast/wine sort of smell. It's not offensive just strange. I keep thinking there's something wrong with me?

By anon12712 — On May 12, 2008

Well...I feel weird. I love asparagus and sometimes I eat it raw. I just recently (in the last month) noticed a different smell from my urine. But it smells kind of sweet. Like wine or sweet/yeasty smell. Is there something wrong with me? It definitely doesn't smell offensive just weird. Also I'm a woman does that make a difference?

By anon12352 — On May 04, 2008

The human sense of smell is dependent on many genes I think... and none of them are necessarily connected to genes that affect specific enzymes in the digestive tract or later stages of metabolism.

There are people who can't smell specific chemicals but yet produce them in their metabolism, which other people may find repulsive. IE, while others may not be bothered by garlic breath at all, even if they don't eat garlic themselves, there apparently are people who will not develop garlic breath even if they eat a lot of it. BTW this is also due to a sulfuric compound... perhaps related somehow?

Some metabolites form in the digestive tract but aren't absorbed in the gut. They can be sensed in the feces but not urine, breath, or skin secretions.

Gut-absorbed metabolites that are readily in a form where the body will secrete them, can be detected in urine, breath, and/or skin secretions, but less in the feces.

If the digestive metabolites are absorbed but not readily secreted, they may accumulate into the body (mainly liver) or they are further metabolized to other substances that may be secreted through one or other path.

If the asparagus P smell isn't found in other secretions than urine, it is, by this rough categorization, either formed in the blood stream or absorbed entirely in the gut (not found in feces), and further it is best secreted by the kidneys, while some bloodstream metabolites mostly end up in the feces, and some are almost exclusive to sweat or breath.

By anon12126 — On Apr 30, 2008

Yeah, I'm not the only one!!!

By anon11763 — On Apr 22, 2008

I too was very concerned when I started smelling my urine a few weeks ago when my Wife cooked asparagus for the first time in 15 years of marriage. Funny thing was the next morning at work I got some very odd looks and my urinal neighbor leaned as far away from me as possible. I'm guessing he has the smell gene for sure.

By skunkpee — On Apr 20, 2008

I've had the same awful smelling pee!!!! for years. Now that I know what causes it and that I'm a special person. I'm not afraid to eat it anymore. I couldn't for years figure out why my pee smelled. I've even asked my doctor about what could cause my pee to smell. They would look at my like I was Nuts! I love asparagus, I will still eat it, even though I know what to expect in less then an hour later. It only lasts about 15hrs with me. I just make sure I drink plenty of water while I'm eating it and then well after I'm done with my meal so it will go out of system faster. But I would never pee in the shower after eating the asparagus! Yuk! It's bad enough to have to endure the smell while on the toilet. I try to flush also while I'm peeing, it seems to help, with having to endure the smell while I pee. I will have to check into the skin burning feel when I pee next time after eating asparagus. I'm just glad to know I have healthy Kidneys.

By anon11274 — On Apr 12, 2008

I often eat asparagus, and always have the sulphur smelling wee wee just half hour after. I actually don't dislike it! Having read this, and now knowing it proves healthy kidneys, I will like it even more!

I am Type 1 diabetic btw, so even cooler knowing my kidneys are in full working order after 21 years of having the condition! Kidney problems are common with diabetes.

I have just prepared a cashew nut risotto for tonight's dinner, and plenty of fresh asparagus added!!! Yummy!

Glad to know it's all normal. Thanks!

By anon11175 — On Apr 09, 2008

I figured out years ago, it probably was a digestive reaction. I was surprised that not everyone experiences it. I'm glad I'm not the only one who experiences the asparagus/pee phenomenon. For me, the smell reminds me of grape juice.

By anon11023 — On Apr 07, 2008

I am just glad it's not something serious!

By anon10153 — On Mar 20, 2008

My husband always says that his urine smells after eating asparagus, but I have never noticed an odor. Tonight we had asparagus and I had him smell my pee, and he could smell the odor, so I make the smell but I cannot smell it! I suppose I just have one of the two genes. :)

By anon9245 — On Mar 02, 2008

There's a Tom Robbins novel, I believe it's "Half asleep in Frog Pajamas" where the protagonist suffers the indignation of asparagus pee. That's when I began to wonder why....

By anon8480 — On Feb 14, 2008

My first experience was after eating about 20 stalks !!! I stir fried them and they were delicious. Anyway I ate late that night, and the next morning I decided to take a shower. Well the hot water relaxed me so I urinated in the shower and OMG!!!! The smell was unlike anything I've ever smelled. It is probably the strongest odor I have ever smelled in my life! Not the most offensive, but definitely the strongest! I thought there was something seriously wrong with me, but then I did a little research and found that it was nothing to be concerned about. It still is the strongest most overpowering thing I have ever smelled though.

By anon8340 — On Feb 11, 2008

the last three evenings my last pee of the day smelled horrid. so i googled and now discovered it was the asparagus i've eaten the past three days. this is the first time i've ever noticed this and i've eaten the asparagus in the past. i'm very relieved this is nothing serious as it sure smelled nasty.

By anon8090 — On Feb 07, 2008

There's a visual gag in one of the Austin Powers films based on the eating asparagus/smelly pee thing, but I guess only 40-50% of people will get the joke!

By anon7555 — On Jan 29, 2008

I used to have it every time. Last night, I noticed it was missing when my husband commented on his. Does that mean my kidneys are malfunctioning, or could it be the result of gall bladder surgery several months ago?

By anon7295 — On Jan 23, 2008

yep, smells like old rubber tires to me too, the fresh picked asparagus. The canned asparagus looses about everything, the brand I had anyway- the main effects, flavor and the pee-you side effect, but the stuff is definitely low on the calorie count!

By MsTick1 — On Jan 03, 2008

To the Anonymous responder who signed off as "Endlessly curious......": A few months ago, I was half-listening to the TV when words penetrated my consciousness: a vague reference to the cause of the asparagus urine smell. I'd long been curious about the phenomenon. "What did they say caused it?" I asked my daughter, who gave me a quizzical look that indicated she didn't understand the reference. Apparently, though I do have the gene, she does not. Perhaps her father also hasn't the gene. I did not, however, supply my daughter (or anyone else, for that matter) with a sample. And I'm thinking that friend must be a really good friend.

By anon6505 — On Dec 31, 2007

The gene giving you the ability to produce and smell the smelly pee are dominant. It is a basic principle of genetics that traits that are caused by a functioning protein, which in this case are an enzyme and chemoreceptor found in the nose, are dominant traits. You only need one of two functional genes for either trait.

By irishlaide — On Dec 28, 2007

I've always loved that distinct smell... but not to the point that I collected it in a jar and asked my neighbors to take a sniff... I bet you got an odd look for that one.

By anon6102 — On Dec 16, 2007

Is the gene giving you the ability to produce and smell the smelly pee a dominant or recessive gene?

By anon5822 — On Dec 06, 2007

Thank you for this very helpful explanation of the asparagus/urine phenomenon. I thought something was wrong with me. After eating canned asparagus for dinner last night my pee smelled terribly pungent. I have never smelled anything like it. It seemed to go away and then today I had some leftover asparagus and almost immediately my pee smelled like that again. Searching for answers I found this. Thank god nothing else is wrong with me!! I too could feel the vapors of this stinky odor. weird!!!!

By anon5623 — On Dec 01, 2007

I knew my urine smelled due to asparagus for years but never knew why 'til now. However, my wife does not have smelly urine when she eats it, further supporting the 40-50 percentage finding. I do wonder if there is any correlation between producing the smell and any other health or physical factor.


By anon5588 — On Nov 30, 2007

A very helpful explanation of the potential asparagus urine smell.

I'm partial to the idea that the unique urine smell is due to two components; 1) a gene that breaks down the sulfur-containing amino acids 2) a gene that smells the specific compounds formed in the digestion of asparagus.

My thoughts..........

- I too smell a unique smell post ingesting asparagus

- 45 minutes after ingesting 10 spears of asparagus, I collected my urine specimen in a jar

- I asked my brother, wife, two children, and a friend to smell the liquid

- My brother, wife, children and friend all smelled the unique smell

Has anyone been able to create the unique smelling urine and find an individual who does not smell the unique smell of the urine?

Thank you.

Endlessly curious......

By anon4725 — On Oct 29, 2007

".. extremely healthy, with a super immune system.. " .. you say... I weigh in at an extremely obese 135 Kg..and am extremely unfit.. filled with a daily dose of cholesterol and blood pressure lowering tablets.... and I too experience a pungent P odor after eating deliciously prepared asparagus.

(viz. crisp marinated)... and the odor reminds me of the smell of "rubber".. eg. rubber tyres.. which is very distinct... anybody have their asparagus a special way giving a "specific" pungent odor like mine...

Initially I just HAD TO ask my GP who assured me there was nothing to worry about.. and.. after reading the thousands of references to asparagus "stuff"... I too am somewhat relieved there is nothing else medically wrong inside my body... c'est la vie... !!!!!

By anon4670 — On Oct 27, 2007

How long does the smell last....I ate 7 or 8 stalks of asparagus last night, and almost 24 hours later my urine still smells. ??

By anon3615 — On Sep 08, 2007

I was so intrigued by the phenomena that I did an impromtu survey. I wondered what health repercussions those of us who experience the smell enjoy/suffer.

For me and for at least one other person I surveyed there is another result. THE VAPORS CAN BE FELT ON THE SKIN even without inhaling. Have you noticed?

By anon2997 — On Aug 04, 2007

My asparagus P is not stinky, but does have a distinctive scent. But as the article indicates, it's good news -- the kidneys are just working like they should. It's a 'special' enzyme for special people.

PS -- I am extremely healthy, with a super immune system, so it's no surprise on the smelly P (phenomenon)

By bluebird — On Jul 30, 2007

I thought I had some strange thing happening because my urine smelled so rotten. I looked it up and low and behold I too had eaten asparagus tonight for dinner. How odd this is what causes it.

I am glad it wasn't something more serious!!!

By anon2326 — On Jul 07, 2007

I have the asparagus smell as well. I have also noticed the same effect when I drink espresso or cappacuino's. Is this due to a similar situation as the asparagus?

By anon2206 — On Jul 03, 2007

I guess it made me feel a bit better just to know I wasn't the only person out there wondering about this strange phenomenon. The gene theory makes sense because both my sons have complained about the same issue. We now just refer to it as "asparagus pee" but we love to eat it anyway. It is amazing how quickly it reacts in our bodies too. I was hoping we were getting some wonderful benefit from suffering this affliction.

By anon1431 — On May 30, 2007

Hello, I got on the web to find out why my urine smelled skunky. I did have asparugus for lunch today, so I guess I found my answer! I must have both genes since I can smell it in my own urine. I have always been told I have a nose like a dog!!

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick


As a frequent contributor to TheHealthBoard, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
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