Q: After I run I smell this horrible ammonia smell. I’m pretty sure it’s my sweat. Why? What is that?
A: This may sound weird but it’s not as uncommon as you think. Ammonia is produced when amino acids breakdown in your body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Ammonia is formed from nitrogen and hydrogen. Hydrogen atoms convert go glucose and the body uses them as fuel. The nitrogen, however, is waste and must be excreted. It’s processed by the kidneys and is excreted as urine. If there is too much nitrogen for your kidneys it will be excreted in your sweat as ammonia.
This does not mean that you need more protein! Your body wants to use fats and carbs for energy. Your muscles use glucose and fat. Your brain needs glucose. When you don’t have enough carbs, your body cannot turn fat into glucose and your body will start using amino acids for energy. Therefore, if your sweat smells like ammonia, eat more carbohydrates. Many of us mistakenly consume too much protein, however, protein should not make up more than 15 percent of your total calories.
Are you drinking enough water? Your urine should be clear. Drinking water should dilute the ammonia and cut down the smell.
If you still smell ammonia, have an apple before you run. If you are running long distance, drink sports drinks.
While the no-carb diets have waned in popularity, they are still out there. Remember, your body needs carbs to burn fat, especially when you are exercising.