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Asparagus after-effects exaggerated: study

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016 Ella Pickover

Only two in five people can smell asparagus in their urine after they have eaten it, a new study suggests.

The vegetable consumption is commonly associated with producing a distinct smelling urine but new research found that 60 per cent of the population cannot detect the scent.

A team of US and European researchers set out to discover why some people can detect the smell and others cannot after they were discussing the phenomenon at a scientific meeting in Sweden.

They examined data from almost 7000 adults taking part in the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The study, published in The British Medical Journal, found that three in five could not detect the smell.

A higher proportion of women reported they were unable to detect the odour compared with men.

The researchers suggest it may be due to under-reporting by a "few modest women", or because they might be less likely to notice an unusual smell because of their position during urination.

The authors found genetic variations between those who could not smell the vegetable in urine and those who could.

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