This is a quick post about a clinical pearl I would like to share with you. We recently had the discussion with the icehockey performance staff of a professional team in Europe about body odour and how that relates to biochemistry and athletic performance.
First of all, what these guys at this icehockey club did really well is recognise that bad body odour is NOT normal. It might be average, but it is not normal. When somebody smells bad it is a sign of something being wrong biochemically. And when there is something wrong biochemically, then athletic performance is reduced, mostly via inefficient regeneration.
Daily we absorb thousands of different biochemical substances through our nose, our lungs, our skin, and our intestinal tracts. Much of that is good like the oxygen we inhale, and the vitamins and nutrients from the foods we eat, but some of it is just not good. It can be the cadmium we inhale from exhaust pipes or passive smoking, it can be the pesticides from food or the Bisphenol A from plastic bottles.
Our bodies are detoxifying geniuses. Mostly we are able to deal with all of that stuff.
Daily we absorb thousands of different biochemical substances through our nose, our lungs, our skin, and our intestinal tracts. Much of that is good like the oxygen we inhale, and the vitamins and nutrients from the foods we eat, but… Click To Tweet
The general concept I taught the icehockey guys was that our body has many different ways of getting rid of the substances that he does not need. It is a hierarchy.
First priority is detoxifying via liver metabolism and excreting toxins through stool.
Second priority is peeing stuff out through our kidneys.
When that fails our body tries to get rid of the stuff he doesn’t need via skin (-> foul odour, acne, skin irritation)
And when even that fails, then our body locks in toxins in fat tissue. Our brain is almost purely fat. If all other systems of detoxification fail our body will start storing some toxins in our brain and thats very bad. We do not want that.
A very common detoxification issue happens in liver detoxification. The liver has two major steps of detoxification. Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Each phase needs different vitamins and micronutrients. Imagine these vitamins and micronutrients as tools that are needed to dissemble the toxins.
Three of the most key nutrients for Liver Detoxification are Magnesium and the B-Vitamins. MOST athletes are deficient in Magnesium and B-Vitamins.
Therefore I suggest diagnostics, lifestyle modifications, and (if necessary) supplementation to identify and address Magnesium, and Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 deficiencies in athletes who smell bad, recover bad, have trouble falling asleep, have skin problems, or lack of energy during the day.
May the FLOW be with you!
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.