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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Scent of Eros - a hormonal explanation of certain Body Odor

In their book, 'The Scent of Eros', the authors, Kohl and Francoer discus how hormones, androgens, estrogens, and progesterone, affect human body odor in a healthy body that does not suffer from metabolic body odor.

In the Chapter, Making Human Pheromones, they discuss the important role pheromones play in activating the genes in hormone-secreting nerve cells that control sexual development and behavior.

Men produce more and stronger body odor than women because androgens are the predominant sex hormone in males. Also, most males have a particular type of odor-producing bacteria on the skin. Some women have this same bacteria, but their lower levels of androgens combine with levels of estrogens and progesterone dominate in different phases of their menstrual cycle, so even the women with the skin bacteria characteristic of males do not have a strong male body odor. The shifting balance of estrogens and progesterone during the menstrual cycle is also responsible for cyclic changes in women's odor.

It appears that hormone levels, controlled by our genes, affect the intensity of body odor caused by a bacteria on the skin. If we add to this equation a metabolic condition, also controlled by our genes, that adds volatile compounds, like TMA and others, then it would appear that there is a complex interplay of causes of extreme, constant or intermittent body odor. This explains why it is so difficult for someone with a metabolic condition and/or hormonal imbalance to control his or her body odor. It would appear that having a good understanding of both would provide greater management control.

google books extract from 'The Scent of Eros'

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