Why Asparagus-Piss smells like Asparagus-Piss

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After eating asparagus, your pee can smell pretty gross. Some people can smell asparagus-pee, while others can’t, and this difference is caused by a difference in your DNA! This issue is not quite that simple, as not everyone produces smelly asparagus-pee after eating asparagus […]

The asparagus-pee molecules that you smell come mostly from the breakdown of a molecule known as asparagusic acid, which is present naturally in asparagus. When your body breaks down asparagusic acid it forms a wide variety of chemicals, all of which contain sulfur! […]

Aside from sulfur, the thing that all these smelly asparagus-pee chemicals have in common is that they are “light” enough (a.k.a. they are “volatile”, which means they have a relatively low boiling point) that they can float up into the air and into your nose. That is partly why asparagus doesn’t smell like asparagus-pee, because asparagusic acid is not volatile (remember that word). In fact, asparagusic acid boils above 300 °C (>600 °F), so there is no way any of it gets into your nose!

Why Asparagus Makes Our Pee Smell Bad