The Nose for Asparagus
The fresh new shoots of asparagus are helping to herald in Spring. Despite the unseasonably chilly weather we're experiencing, a trip to the market this weekend serves up the garden's first offering of Spring - asparagus. For some, a meal of asparagus is accompanied by a very specific urine 'odour'. Do you know what I'm talking about? If so.... don't worry , it's perfectly normal. You are amongst a subset of the population that has a 'nose' for it. A 'specific smell hypersensitivity' as science calls it. Yes, it's actually been studied and scientifically validated. It was originally speculated that a small subset of the population was responsible for the odorous urinary output, owing to a unique and genetically determined metabolic pathway. However, it is now realized that the characteristic urine smell following asparagus intake is 'in the nose of the beholder'. That in fact, everyone has stinky pee after they eat asparagus, but that only a smaller subset of the popultation can detect it.
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