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Ammonia smell in exercise

I have had a problem with smelling like ammonia when I exercise. It is usually not until I get really warm that this happens. I've read conflicting info on this, saying I don't eat enough ( I do) or that I have too much protein or not enough protein. No matter what I do to my eating habits, it still happens. I also am not overtraining - sometimes I smell this after 10 minutes of exercise. I am overwright but consider myself athletic. I can smell the ammonia in my nose and on my breath.

I've had blood work done and my liver function is normal, ammonia levels normal, blood glucose and a1c is normal. I have been diagnosed with non -alcoholic fatty liver and I have insulin resistance.  Anything would be helpful!
15 Responses
97615 tn?1212682189
well, i cant help you but i have the same exact thing.  I am not overweight and i do work out.  I dont smell it too much lately but I used to smoke.  Not a whole lot but more socially.  I would run about 5miles and it was awful.  even certain lotions did not agree w/ my skin (ie, bath and body).  If you find anything out....please let me know...and vice versa...good luck
Avatar universal
I experienced the same thing for many, many years.  However, for the last two years or so, it has gone away.  The only thing I'm doing differently is eating properly.  In my 20's I ate cookies, candy, and fast food.  My 30's brought a better diet, but never a good one.  Now (40's) I eat square meals, and make sure I have a good amount of protein each day.  If I remember correctly, ammonia is a byproduct of protein degredation.  Does this mean that our exercise regimen is (was) too strenuous?  Or do we require more protein to sustain the muscular work that is being done?
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Body odor is a product of the aprocrine glands.  They are located in the axillae, nipples, areolae, anogenital area, eyelids, and external ears.  In response to emotional or physical stimuli the glands secrete a white fluid containing protein, carbohydrates, and other substances.  Secretions are usually odorless. Bacterial decomposition of the apocrine sweat produces the characteristic adult body odor unique to the individual. Do not mix this up with regular sweat from exercising. Ammonia odors from the breath or body sweat are called uremia.  Nitrogen containing waste products, often from failing or damaged kidneys are suspected.  Kidney tests are recommended to rule this out.  Other metabolic waste products such as glycosylated wastes (protein wastes) and byproducts of abnormal cell oxidation may also be the cause of the ammonia odor.  If the problem is from kidneys, dialysis is usually ordered.  If the problem is from too much protein consumption, generally reducing the amount of protein will relieve the problem.  It is common in vegetarians who go on the Adkins diet.  If you wish to maintain a high protein diet, careful balance of calcium and folate supplementation may be done. When diet or kidney treatment is accomplished, the ammonia oder will go away.
Avatar universal
Only recently have I started smelling ammonia as I begin to exercise walking on tread mill, or weight machines. I realized today that I was smelling ammonia. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer over three years ago (treating by changing diet, etc.) I have not had any medical treatment. don't want any. my decision, but I have heard of people beginning to smell funny that have cancer. I am also a diabetic. I eat alomost all organic foods and very little meat. Just looking for someone who may have an insight on this. thank you. rcp
Avatar universal
i am a fitness instructor and i teach high impact cardo classes and weights based classes. myself and my peers also have this problem. i was very glad to hear them all say that they get it as i thought it was just me. i have no idea what it is i cant see that it would be from too much protien as i dont eat enough of it. also i have tests done regually to see how all my levels are and everything is normal. i find it very embarracing smelling like cat wee!!!

top tip for you all though

when you come home from the gym soak your clothes in a mixture of white vinager, washing powder and water before you wash them this will help take the smell away!!!!
Avatar universal
One other factor to consider is water intake. The methods used for getting rid of excess ammonia, such as urine and sweat, all require water as a transport mechanism. If you are not getting adequate fluid, then the solution (ammonia + water) will not be diluted. Therefore, water plays a definite role. If you are not drinking enough fluids to have at least one or two clear urinations every day, you should drink more.
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Arlington, VA
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