Why Does my Pee Smell Weird After Eating Asparagus?

Photo by Brenbot

Photo by Brenbot


Spring has sprung and that means it time for a whole new crop of fruits and vegetables.  One of the vegetables I am most excited about cooking in the Spring is asparagus.  To my ultimate pleasure, the grocery stores and farmer’s markets are filled with asparagus right now- often on sale!!

Unfortunately, one of the VERY unpleasant side effects of eating asparagus is asparagus pee-a seriously stinky pee that hits within 15-30 minutes after consuming asparagus.  I have often wondered if this pungent pee was normal or a sign of faulty digestion.  I was happy to learn, it is totally normal.  (In fact, between 22-50% of people report detecting stinky urine after eating asparagus.)

There are competing theories about what causes asparagus pee.  Some researchers believe only some people produce asparagus pee.  Others believe, everyone produces the stinky urine but only some people possess the ability to smell the distinctive odor.

Whatever the case, researchers believe during digestion, the vegetable’s sulfurous compound called asparagusic acid breaks down into smelly chemical components.  (These smelly compounds can also be found in rotten eggs, onions and garlic.)  When you visit the bathroom after eating asparagus, these smelly compounds then become airborne, perfuming the air for all to smell.

So with asparagus season upon us, know that you are not the only one experiencing asparagus pee.  I, however, believe that with such a short season of green goodness, it would be ashamed not to take advantage of every opportunity to get your asparagus fix.  Go ahead!  Cooked up asparagus risotto, grilled asparagus, Creamy asparagus soup or any other asparagus yummy you can devise.

What are some of your favorite asparagus recipes?

See more of Brenbot’s photos here.

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