When I eat asparagus, I find my urine has an odor.

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When I eat asparagus, I find that my urine has a peculiar odor. Why is that? I understand this vegetable has cleansing abilities, if so, how does it do it and what is it exactly cleansing or detoxifying? What’s asparagus noted for nutritionally? Thanks!

Please let me know.

Some people, notice a strong odor after eating asparagus. This appears to be produced by two sulfur-containing compounds. As few as five or six spears may be enough to produce an odor. The odor may be noticed even within 15 minutes after eating the asparagus and disappears in a few hours when the asparagus is completely digested and absorbed.

According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, most authorities originally felt that the compound which causes the odor in urine after consumption of asparagus is methyl mercaptan, which is a sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, methionine. Later studies suggested the compounds were methylthioacrylate and methylthiopropionate. This is disputed by a few individuals who claim that the odiferous compound is asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide, which is derived from the amino acid, asparagine. In any case, the product is formed as a derivative during the digestion and subsequent breakdown of beneficial amino acids, which occur naturally in asparagus. Doesn’t sound like any researcher has specifically nailed down what the exact compound is.

Asparagus is a good source of folacin, vitamin A and vitamin K. As to detoxifying your body, it doesn’t. Your liver is the organ responsible for detoxifying and does so with alcohol or other toxins. Cleansing, well, fiber helps clean out your gastrointestinal tract and your lungs get rid of impurities in phlegm or by coughing. Furthermore, your immune system is prepared to act against foreign substances. The concept of cleansing or detoxifying your body is not a simple one-food silver bullet solution. I wouldn’t consider a specific food a cleanser or detoxifier.