Why Does Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell?

This stink affects an unlucky 20% to 50% of the population.

There are some foods in this world that do weird things to your body. Eating too many carrots can result in orange skin, almonds can put you to sleep and beets can turn your pee pink. The world never ceases to amaze me! But those aren’t the only unusual side effects of the food we eat.

The age-old question remains: Why does asparagus make your pee smell? I did some research to find the answer.

What Causes the Asparagus Pee Smell?

It starts with a compound known as asparagusic acid. Yes, as the name implies, this compound is currently only found in asparagus. As you eat your crisp oven-roasted asparagus, your metabolism produces several sulfuric byproducts in the process. Neat, huh?

If you know the smell of sulfur, you know it smells kind of like rotten eggs. It happens fast, too—the smell can happen as soon as 15 minutes after the first bite of your air-fryer asparagus.

Does This Happen to Everyone?

I thought it was something everyone had to suffer through, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. About 20-50% of people experience this smelly phenomenon, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The rest get off scot-free! Well, kind of.

There are two theories as to why the other half of the population gets to skip the stink. They were either born with the ability to break down sulfur compounds more efficiently, or their noses have developed enough to prevent them from smelling their own stink. How lucky!

How Do You Prevent the Smell?

The only way to stop it is to not eat asparagus at all, unfortunately. And we’re just not going to do that. Asparagus is way too tasty to skip! But you can drink more water to help dilute the scent as best you can. If sulfur is all I have to suffer through to enjoy my Parmesan asparagus, I can handle that without a problem.

Melany Love
Having always wanted a career in writing, Melany couldn't have found a better place than Taste of Home to begin. When she's not scribbling in her notebook or working at her computer, she can be found experimenting with new recipes or relaxing with a book and her cats.