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May 18, 2022

Smell Ammonia?

Your Body’s Trying to Tell You Something

Your body is full of symptoms that typically try to tell you something. Your body is a beacon for signals, whether trying to say to you that you are training too hard, not eating enough, or needing more rest. Often, we may not fully understand what our body is trying to tell us. The signals that you may be receiving don’t come in words but often comes in how you’re feeling and can be in what you’re smelling. You heard that right; how you smell or what you’re smelling can signify that something is wrong.

Smell Ammonia?
Have you ever finished a run or even a hard workout, and you have this unique smell? The smell is hard to determine, but you feel like it smells like ammonia.  So, what is ammonia?

What is ammonia?
First, let’s chat about ammonia. What is ammonia? Ammonia is a colorless gas that is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It has a strong odor that smells like urine or sweat.  Our bodies make ammonia when it breaks down protein into amino acids. Your liver then converts the ammonia into urea so that it can leave the body through urine or sweat. It is naturally a thing that occurs in each of our bodies. It becomes unnatural when you notice a distinct smell. It’s our body’s way of telling you that it is burning too much protein by way of your muscles and therefore produces a powerful ammonia odor. Let’s break down this process so more.

  1. Not enough Protein

When you smell ammonia at the end of a workout, your body lets you know that it is using protein as the primary energy source. This means that your muscles are being broken down, metabolized, and used as energy sources. This is not what we want. A way to fix this is to make sure you are intaking enough carbohydrates so that your body is using carbohydrates as an energy source versus protein as your energy source. So don’t be afraid to eat the carbs.

  1. Dehydration

Another reason you may feel smelling ammonia is because your body is telling you that you are dehydrated. Dehydration can make your sweat smell like ammonia. Your body is telling you that you need more water. It also indicates that your body doesn’t have enough water to dilute the ammonia as the body is releasing it.

Your body is a brilliant machine and tells you what it needs every day. It’s up to us to take time out to listen to our bodies and to give our bodies what it is lacking. Whenever you feel like something is off, take a moment to reassess what your body is trying to tell you. Take time out to truly listen to your body and give it what it needs to continue to perform at your best.

By: Felicia. R. Hall @feliciarhall
Felicia is an educator and motivator at heart. Felicia is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Run & Fitness Coach, RYT 200 Yoga Instructor, Educator and a doctoral candidate. She is a small-town girl who loves running, nature and helping others become the best version of themselves.