FRIDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of people with unexplained body odor may actually have an inherited metabolic disorder, a new study finds.
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This disorder that impairs their ability to metabolize a compound -- produced naturally from many foods -- that has a foul, fishy odor.
Although the compound generally has an off-putting fishy smell, at lower concentrations, the odor of TMA may be perceived as unpleasant or "garbage-like," according to the researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
This study of 353 people with unexplained body odor problems found that 118 (33%) of them had TMAU.
Odor associated with TMAU can affect social and work relationships and cause psychological distress. Once TMAU is diagnosed, body odor can be controlled through changes in diet and other methods, the Monell researchers said.
The study appears online in The American Journal of Medicine.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: Monell Chemical Senses Center, news release, Aug. 31, 2011