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Thread: Ammonia smell

  1. #31
    US Army Officer AmericanMETAL13's Avatar
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    In the Army at Ranger School it's not uncommon at all for people to smell like Ammonia. It happens when your caloric intake in combination with lack of sleep causes your body to burn muscle as a fuel source. What's your caloric intake?
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    i get ammonia smell easily too. Within 10 minutes of cardio

    i dont know whats wrong with me.... docs dont know either
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  3. #33
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    Originally Posted by AmericanMETAL13 View Post
    In the Army at Ranger School it's not uncommon at all for people to smell like Ammonia. It happens when your caloric intake in combination with lack of sleep causes your body to burn muscle as a fuel source. What's your caloric intake?
    4300-5600 depending on the day. My sleep is disrupted, although I allow 8-10 hours everynight.
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  4. #34
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    I just started Keto diet about 6 days ago. I have started to get that very strong ammonia smell after my work outs. I made a radical change in my diet and wondering if it id from that. My water intake is also more than adequate. Now I am all concerned with this diet since my fats are super high and protein has been more around my body weight of 240...carbs below 40g. Don't need my kidneys being the problem.
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  5. #35
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    Can anyone provide a link to the science behind this? I just don't buy the whole "ammonia from sweat" thing....

    Any studies on this phenomena?
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  6. #36
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    Are you sure people aren't just being polite, and don't want to tell you that you smell like a nasty smelling cleaner?
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  7. #37
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    Originally Posted by Holyspokes View Post
    4300-5600 depending on the day. My sleep is disrupted, although I allow 8-10 hours everynight.
    the sleep disruption sounds like a common symptom of adrenal fatigue im just getting over it and i also had the ammonium smell problem when i worked out but it was more like a cat piss smell. its from an imbalance of minerals in the kidneys. i started to take 250mg of potassium a day and it got ride of it.
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  8. #38
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    Originally Posted by whitegato1488 View Post
    the sleep disruption sounds like a common symptom of adrenal fatigue im just getting over it and i also had the ammonium smell problem when i worked out but it was more like a cat piss smell. its from an imbalance of minerals in the kidneys. i started to take 250mg of potassium a day and it got ride of it.
    Hmm, thanks. Well I get a ****load of potassium in my diet, I don't really want to supplement any.

    I just read up a little bit on adrenal fatigue. Can you get it from too much exercise? What are some ways you can get over it? I'm thinking I might actually have it. Who knows though.
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  9. #39
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    Originally Posted by whitegato1488 View Post
    250mg of potassium a day and it got ride of it.
    Since this is the nutrition forum, I just wanted to interject that a banana has more potassium than that So if you are paying for pills, there are cheaper ways :O
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  10. #40
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    'Adrenal fatigue' in the 'general' way people think/ refer to it is a load of poppy-weeny....

    -- >> http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C17669.html
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adr...atigue/AN01583
    ^
    many people suggest it is ‘real’ -- but it is actually usually just chronic stress/ anxiety/ depression/ or even chronic fatigue - >>
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chr...ndrome/DS00395
    So you may well be 'overtrained' - but that would be... well... overtraining.... Not adrenal fatigue.

    TRUE 'adrenal fatigue' => addisons disease... and that is not something that you can create from too much exercise.
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  11. #41
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    Originally Posted by reefpicker View Post
    Since this is the nutrition forum, I just wanted to interject that a banana has more potassium than that So if you are paying for pills, there are cheaper ways :O
    Originally Posted by Holyspokes View Post
    Hmm, thanks. Well I get a ****load of potassium in my diet, I don't really want to supplement any.

    I just read up a little bit on adrenal fatigue. Can you get it from too much exercise? What are some ways you can get over it? I'm thinking I might actually have it. Who knows though.
    i thought i did to since i would eat two bananas a day and alot of potatoes but i still tried the OTC @ 250mg and the smell went away.
    yes you can get adrenal fatigue from over training but from prolonged over training and usually combined with other stresses like food allergies or lack of sleep or any other stress you can think of.


    Originally Posted by Emma-Leigh View Post
    'Adrenal fatigue' in the 'general' way people think/ refer to it is a load of poppy-weeny....

    -- >> http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C17669.html
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adr...atigue/AN01583
    ^
    many people suggest it is ?real? -- but it is actually usually just chronic stress/ anxiety/ depression/ or even chronic fatigue - >>
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chr...ndrome/DS00395
    So you may well be 'overtrained' - but that would be... well... overtraining.... Not adrenal fatigue.

    TRUE 'adrenal fatigue' => addisons disease... and that is not something that you can create from too much exercise.
    like i mentioned before prolonged overtraining can result in adrenal fatigue and most docs dont recognize it because there is not an establish way of testing for it. it has veering degree's and chronic fatigue can be on the upper end of the degree. to put it simply prolonged stress can make you produce and use up alot of different hormone and eventually you start to run out of the because the body isnt able to keep up producing and this causes an imbalance and once you have the imbalance it goes down hill from there.
    there is alot of diseases that research is starting to point to being stress induced like fibromyalgia.
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  12. #42
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    the first article i read in my road to figuring it out was
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ammonia.htm
    then i started to look into kidney problems and urea and came up with the potassium.
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    Thanks for the input whitegato
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  14. #44
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    Originally Posted by whitegato1488 View Post
    to put it simply prolonged stress can make you produce and use up alot of different hormone and eventually you start to run out of the because the body isnt able to keep up producing and this causes an imbalance and once you have the imbalance it goes down hill from there.
    Not true.

    The body can produce steroid hormones pretty fast. In fact, there present in the brain and used as "neuromodulators" because they can activate signaling pathways similar to neuroendocrine regulators. They are called neurosteroids.

    Actually, there is something else that kicks in before any kind of hormonal depletion can take place. It is called receptor desensitization. When cortisol stays high for too long, the receptor stops acting on the signal. Either cortisol goes down or the only way to get a stress response is to further elevate cortisol.

    We see this all the time in experiments that test chronic vs. acute stress. Someone in my lab did an experiment with fish, and it was amazing to see this cortisol signal piggybacked on top of the chronic signal.

    In general, the medical establishment does not accept the idea of adrenal fatigue because it is just plain ludicrous. Your body produces hundreds of hormones and it never seems to simply run out of gas when producing them.

    Depletion can occur, but only on the smallest of scales. This happens with neurotransmitters. In fact, neurons can often become depleted of neurotransmitters, or even hormones, but in a few hours they are able to re-synthesize what they need.

    Another factor to keep in mind is that hormones are not "spent". They are signals that travel thru the body, are destroyed (usually by the liver), and reconstituted, because the "parts" they are made from are made available again.

    Sometimes a hormone will bind a receptor, signal the cell, get unbound, and continue activating another receptor. This way, the hormone is very efficient. Other times, a hormone binds a receptor, and only while bound is the signal active. At some point it becomes unbound, and it goes back to the blood stream.
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    The ammonia smell is famous at US Army Ranger School. Young men at their physical peak begin smelling strongly of ammonia after weeks of insufficient caloric intake, lack of sleep, and non-stop exhausting exercise. Most of them complain that its deep in their chest and they taste it more than smelling it until they catch a deep breath.. Production of lactic acid, and depending on individual diet and melanine levels, kidney function, Liver and health behaviours (smoker, Drinker etc) but regardless, the Amonia smell is this by product of exercised muscles and sugars burnt and used within exercised muscles etc..ie Oxygen in, combined with blood sugar (or lack of it) mixed with personal electrolyte levels,exercised muscle blood, output carbon D = Odor.

    I've read it can be a sign of muscle breakdown for energy, your low BF would explain that...

    It can also be a bacterial infection...
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    Originally Posted by adwilk View Post
    The ammonia smell is famous at US Army Ranger School. Young men at their physical peak begin smelling strongly of ammonia after weeks of insufficient caloric intake, lack of sleep, and non-stop exhausting exercise. Most of them complain that its deep in their chest and they taste it more than smelling it until they catch a deep breath.. Production of lactic acid, and depending on individual diet and melanine levels, kidney function, Liver and health behaviours (smoker, Drinker etc) but regardless, the Amonia smell is this by product of exercised muscles and sugars burnt and used within exercised muscles etc..ie Oxygen in, combined with blood sugar (or lack of it) mixed with personal electrolyte levels,exercised muscle blood, output carbon D = Odor.

    I've read it can be a sign of muscle breakdown for energy, your low BF would explain that...

    It can also be a bacterial infection...
    Thanks for the info man.

    I've heard this a few times, although this went a bit more depth. I think that was my issue. I was cycling a LOT, and I guess I just wasn't eating enough. I wasn't lifting at the time and my weight went from 155 to 143, and then leveled out at 143.

    I still get it AT TIMES, but i've been eating a crap load, been paying better attention to recovery and upped my carbohydrate %.
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    Still I don't get the scientific explanation of this... Is it really ammonia?

    is it just something that smell like ammonia?

    or is it unknown?
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    I had same prob, sinus infection ftw...
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    I'm pretty sure a couple of things have come up abnormal with my kidneys as well.
    You said your BUN level was high, from webmd:

    * A high BUN value can mean kidney injury or disease is present. Kidney damage can be caused by diabetes or high blood pressure that directly affect the kidneys. High BUN levels can also be caused by blockage of the urinary tract (by a kidney stone or tumor) or low blood flow to the kidneys caused by dehydration or heart failure.

    * Many medicines may cause a high BUN. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.

    * A high BUN value may be caused by a high-protein diet, Addison's disease, tissue damage (such as from severe burns), or from bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

    * High BUN-to-creatinine ratios occur with sudden (acute) kidney failure, which may be caused by shock or severe dehydration. A blockage in the urinary tract (such as a kidney stone) can cause a high BUN-to-creatinine ratio. A very high BUN-to-creatinine ratio may be caused by bleeding in the digestive tract or respiratory tract.
    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/b...itrogen?page=2

    When dealing with health issues, if you don't agree with the doctor you should always get a second, third, etc. opinion. Personally I would ask the doctors to run more tests even if they thought it was fine. Also I suggest getting you're liver checked as some symptoms overlap.

    I'm not a doctor but my guess is that your body cannot get rid of the ammonia fast enough that it's building up in your bloodstream and escaping other ways. Or the source of the ammonia is coming from somewhere in your torso cavity or just upper body region, like marcus said the sinus. You should check up on the sinus thing.

    If it's not kidney failure it could just be nothing...
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...se&btnG=Search

    All I can really say is see the doctor and go google and do some more research on it.
    Last edited by KCE; 03-16-2009 at 12:18 AM.
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    My experience on Keto diets ended up with same result. But I've been on 600+ carbs a day and had no smell related with anything.

    Do you take a high quality multi? Or garbage?
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    Originally Posted by KCE View Post
    You said your BUN level was high, from webmd:



    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/b...itrogen?page=2

    When dealing with health issues, if you don't agree with the doctor you should always get a second, third, etc. opinion. Personally I would ask the doctors to run more tests even if they thought it was fine. Also I suggest getting you're liver checked as some symptoms overlap.

    I'm not a doctor but my guess is that your body cannot get rid of the ammonia fast enough that it's building up in your bloodstream and escaping other ways. Or the source of the ammonia is coming from somewhere in your torso cavity or just upper body region, like marcus said the sinus. You should check up on the sinus thing.

    If it's not kidney failure it could just be nothing...
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...se&btnG=Search

    All I can really say is see the doctor and go google and do some more research on it.
    Thanks for all of that, I can't really see a doctor right now and I'm away from home right now, so it may have to wait until summer.

    Originally Posted by NDMarts View Post
    My experience on Keto diets ended up with same result. But I've been on 600+ carbs a day and had no smell related with anything.

    Do you take a high quality multi? Or garbage?
    I don't take a multi, I get plenty of vitamins from food
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    I only skimmed most of the responses, but was shocked to not see what is the most probable cause of smelling like ammonia whilst sweating...

    ..and that is an excess of protein intake.

    Most bodybuilders tend to strive for 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight - while this is ok for some, it is not the proper diet for all.

    When the body intakes an excess amount of protein and can not use it, it breaks it down into amino acids and then synthesizes it into ammonia and excretes it through sweat and urine.

    If you are working out and sweating hard on a high protein diet and start to smell of ammonia, chances are that you need to drop your protein intake a little bit as your are flooding your body with too much.

    I personally can only intake about 200grams of protein before I start to get that ammonia smell when I sweat - which is far from the "bro recommended dosage".

    Now, you can also solve the problem by adding more carbs to your diet - but if you are holding steady at 3500 calories - adding enough carbs would probably pop you up to 4k as well as some follow low carb or carb cycling diets that can not make that addition. So - dropping protein intake is OK - you can still build muscle on a .5g/lb diet.

    I did a LOT of research on the matter when I started to first smell ammonia after working out.
    Last edited by sizeNstrength; 03-24-2009 at 06:05 PM.
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    Originally Posted by sizeNstrength View Post
    I only skimmed most of the responses, but was shocked to not see what is the most probable cause of smelling like ammonia whilst sweating...

    ..and that is an excess of protein intake.

    Most bodybuilders tend to strive for 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight - while this is ok for some, it is not the proper diet for all.

    When the body intakes an excess amount of protein and can not use it, it breaks it down into amino acids and then synthesizes it into ammonia and excretes it through sweat and urine.

    If you are working out and sweating hard on a high protein diet and start to smell of ammonia, chances are that you need to drop your protein intake a little bit as your are flooding your body with too much.

    I personally can only intake about 200grams of protein before I start to get that ammonia smell when I sweat - which is far from the "bro recommended dosage".

    Now, you can also solve the problem by adding more carbs to your diet - but if you are holding steady at 3500 calories - adding enough carbs would probably pop you up to 4k as well as some follow low carb or carb cycling diets that can not make that addition. So - dropping protein intake is OK - you can still build muscle on a .5g/lb diet.

    I did a LOT of research on the matter when I started to first smell ammonia after working out.
    Thanks, I have thought of that. I have indeed increased carbohydrate intake and lowered protein a bit. Some days when I need to eat 5,800 or so calories I'm not sure where my protein should be. I generally get 150-190g of protein per day.
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    Originally Posted by Holyspokes View Post
    Thanks, I have thought of that. I have indeed increased carbohydrate intake and lowered protein a bit. Some days when I need to eat 5,800 or so calories I'm not sure where my protein should be. I generally get 150-190g of protein per day.
    Well, since the ammonia smell is most likely linked to protein intake - if you need 5.8k calories in a day but your body is only processing 120g of protein, I would make up the difference with healthy fats (which the body processes and digests easily) and carbs. The excess protein isn't doing anything good for ya
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    Protein

    Just wanted to add that although I don't have any equations to back me up, it is DEFINTELY down to protein intake. I was vegetarian for nearly 20 years and just went back to meat-eater about 7 years ago. I still can't get used to my own new body odor. As a veggie I was completely odorless. Disgusting (...can you pass me the bacon?).
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    I noticed it a bit when I first started training many years ago.Not overtraining and glutamine 2-3 times throughout the day helped greatly! that is as long as no other health issues are at play,and it does not sound like it from everything you are telling us.
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    I get this ammonia smell too, after heavy cardio in the mornings before eating anything. I don't have any other complications though... so I assume it's just the phenomenon of burning protein from muscles for energy b/c there are no carbs or stored fats to burn?
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  28. #58
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    I used to get these when I over trained.

    I would recommend that you check your clothing themselves.
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    I really just get the smell in my nose, it's not like anyone else can ever smell it.

    I rarely smell it as much anymore, but still do sometimes. Whenever I do get it, it makes me think I have not been eating enough (carbohydrates)..

    And trust me.. I eat a lot
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    Originally Posted by atticus_a View Post
    I used to get these when I over trained.

    I would recommend that you check your clothing themselves.
    BUMP!

    Weird but I think it can be in the clothes too.. Wore a new hoodie to the gym to lift, everything the same for the day supplement/food wise, and no smell.. When I wear an old beater and new hoodie no ammonia smell, with an older hoodie once it starts getting damp the smell gets so strong!

    I do take in mass amounts of BCAA's though throughout the day/pre/during/post, but also a ton of water, I don't suppose I can be burning off the aminos as energy hence the nitrogen/ammonia smell?
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