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TOPIC: Amonia smell in my nose after I exercise

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October 25, 2012 5:37 AM
Great question.....I have this same issue after I run sometimes. I thought maybe I was just a tad looney. Nice to know I am not the only person on the planet who has experienced this. LOL
October 25, 2012 3:54 PM
Nope, you're not crazy. It still happens to me sometimes. But, I have been eating some type of carb before working out and making sure I am well hydrated before working out and during. It is definitely better.
October 25, 2012 3:56 PM
Might be that you're in ketosis, this smell is a common side effect from being on a low carb high protein diet..You can also get the same smell on your breath it's referred to as KETObreath
Edited by GlutesthatSalute On October 25, 2012 4:47 PM
October 25, 2012 3:58 PM
I've experienced it before, too. Sometimes I eat low carb tortillas, and I stress getting enough protein.. I think I have my settings set to 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat.
October 25, 2012 4:01 PM
Q My sweat smells strongly of ammonia after a run. Is this normal?

A Don’t be too alarmed: the smell of ammonia in sweat is common among runners. Ammonia comes from the breakdown of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) within the body. It is made up of nitrogen and hydrogen. The hydrogen atoms are converted to glucose and used as fuel. The nitrogen is a waste product that needs to be excreted by the body, and is processed in the kidneys to form urea that is excreted in urine. If there is too much nitrogen for your kidneys to deal with, it will be excreted as ammonia in your sweat.

One factor to consider is water intake. If you are consuming adequate fluid, the ammonia will be diluted – a decrease in the concentration will result in a less potent smell of ammonia. One way to be sure you are drinking enough fluids is to ensure your urine is clear.

Many people mistakenly believe ammonia sweat means that their protein intake is not high enough. The body will only utilise protein for energy when it does not have a sufficient supply of fats and carbohydrates. Muscles can use glucose and fat for energy, but the brain requires glucose. Since there is no direct metabolic pathway from fat to glucose when there is insufficient carbohydrate, your body will use amino acids. Therefore, if your sweat smells of ammonia don’t compensate by adding more protein (amino acids) to your diet, instead fuel your muscles and brain with what it prefers as an energy supply: carbohydrates. So, although protein is important in the diet, don’t go overboard. The recommended daily amount of protein is 15 per cent of your total calorie intake.

If you find the smell of ammonia persists try having a low glycaemic index carbohydrate, such as an apple, before your run and during prolonged exercise drink sports drinks to fuel your body and prevent amino acids being burned as energy. Don’t forget the body needs carbohydrate to burn fat so don’t think that providing some carbs before running is going to eliminate the fat burning process.

—Jane Newman, Sports Physiotherapist and Ultra Runner
October 25, 2012 4:03 PM
OMG, yes. I can't say it's after I exercise, I haven't paid attention to a pattern I guess, but I go through times where that is all I can smell, and then it goes away.
October 25, 2012 4:03 PM

Ironically, I just read this today:

Post Workout Nutrition

In general, you'll maximize your fat loss if you wait about an hour after your workouts before eating. The exception, in my view, is when you smell ammonia. Ammonia is essentially nitrogen, and that sensation after a workout is a signal that you've raised your cortisol levels enough to trigger the breakdown of amino acids by the liver (gluconeogenesis). When the body needs energy, it metabolizes glycogen, then fat, then protein. If one isn't fast enough, it goes down the list. But if it's going to feed on protein, you want it to go after something other than muscle tissue. So if you smell ammonia, you should have a protein and carbohydrate containing supplement immediately after your workout, preferably along with a protein stimulating supplement such as L-Leucine (whey protein is about 20-25% Leucine).

Even if you wait to eat a regular meal, there's increasing evidence that availability of the "branched-chain" amino acid Leucine, even just a gram, closely following a workout, can kick-start new muscle synthesis.

A few additional reasons to avoid spiking insulin except after a weight-training workout. About one in four people are insulin resistant, meaning that the pancreas has to pump out a lot more of the stuff in order to be effective. That excessive insulin reduces the ability of the body to burn fat as energy even after the glucose is cleared. Insulin resistance also typically leads to an increase in "visceral fat" around the organs, particularly in the abdomen, and increases the risk of coronary disease. By keeping your carbohydrates low-glycemic and your portion sizes in control, you reduce the need for this excessive output of insulin, and you keep your fat-burning in high gear.

Insulin resistance is more common if you have diabetes in your family, or if your diet has been high in sugar, high glycemic carbs, and saturated fats. My vote for worst food in the world: funnel cake (called "elephant ears" in the Midwest ): white flour dough, deep fried in lard, covered with powdered sugar. If you ever find yourself standing in line for this stuff, just skip on over and stand in the line to get your head examined.

Fortunately, one excellent fact is that exercise itself improves insulin sensitivity. Also, you'll significantly improve your fat loss if you concentrate on eating low glycemic carbs in your portions. A few supplements are known to improve insulin sensitivity: alpha lipoic acid ( ALA ), green tea extract, and chromium picolinate. All are available at any GNC. Normal dosages (read the label on whatever brand you pick) are sufficient. Since they change the responsiveness to insulin, diabetics who are insulin-dependent should use these only under a doctor's supervision.

Wow, thanks for this great response. I originally posted this in July but somehow popped back up on here. I have been more careful about eating a little something before I workout hard and hydrate before and during. I will definitely be looking into the supplements and eating directly after I workout. I try to but sometimes I let it slide. So glad this was brought up again.
October 25, 2012 4:13 PM
Fascinating to know that I'm not the only one who experiences this..........
October 25, 2012 4:18 PM
Yep, I get this too. I smell it right away once I hop in the shower after a workout. It only lasts a few minutes but it is the weirdest thing! So glad I am not the only one. HA!
October 25, 2012 4:21 PM
I get a vinegary smell in my nose. I've always thought I was a total freak.
October 25, 2012 10:06 PM
The last time I was pregnant, my GP asked to smell my breath (to my un-delighted surprise...) - it would be ammonia-like scented if I was dehydrated. Maybe that could be a reason?
October 25, 2012 10:14 PM
I have covered this in forums before but that smell is ketones (sugar). I have been diabetic for 28 years and know what this is. What you need to do when you smell this is drink plenty of water, and your body washes it out. If you are diabetic this does harm but if you are nondiabetic,you'll be fine......
November 9, 2012 4:38 PM
I get it too. I am training for a half marathon and it's usually on the day when I add time/distance to my run. I didn't know I needed to eat as soon as I was done if I smelled that though. Great info. Thanks.
June 4, 2013 10:26 AM
Thank you all.... my husband thought I was nuts! AND now I've found you and just started my own plan in "myfitnesspal". This site is great and maybe I will be able to loose it now! ....both the smell and the weight.... and as a side note I noticed my kidney area hurting last night too after the exercise and the smell.... hummmmmm this is great I found you, right?


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