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The Truth About Asparagus and Your Pee

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An astonishing amount of research has gone into the question of whether asparagus really makes your urine smell funny. Sci Show explains it all inside! Hosted by: Hank Green ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/scishow Or help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Thanks Tank Tumblr: http://thankstank.tumblr.com Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379935/pdf/brjclinpharm00087-0116.pdf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1715705/pdf/brmedj00052-0020.pdf http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/09/27/chemse.bjq081.full http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mythasparagusurine.html http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-asparagus-makes-your-urine-smell-49961252/?no-ist http://mentalfloss.com/article/24731/why-does-asparagus-make-your-pee-smell-funny http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140818-mystery-of-asparagus-and-urine http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-pee-smells-funny-eat-asparagus
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Text Comments (987)
Anna Williams (1 month ago)
"All you gotta do is eat some asparagus, wait a little bit, and then pee on your enemies. "
Diademglo (1 month ago)
I had this type of talking, non stop and agitating, maybe neurotic..
Breadzanagi (2 months ago)
Your butt
Matt Williams (3 months ago)
Excretor and smeller here, lmao
Ardis's Adventures (5 months ago)
Never mind about the asparagus pee. What I want to know is what is the science behind why your own farts smell better than other people’s farts.
P Heimerz (6 months ago)
My father can't smell the asparagus chemicals in his urine but my mom and I can. Weird, huh?
you said some people can't smell the meat?!! How is that possible?! Meat is so stincky and smelly!
SS WAYS (7 months ago)
i just ate a bunch of it too lol
Christopher Day (7 months ago)
Aw, have Hank pronounce "methanethiol" again, and again and again! ... :D
martinsen073 (8 months ago)
I guess i excrete that acid cause i can smell it 10 minutes after
johnnieb15 (9 months ago)
Yesterday was my first time eating asparagus and my pee smell was awful..I googled foul urine odor and asparagus popped up .I didn’t know things like this happen...Good to know I thought something was wrong with me😅
RedHybridPanda (9 months ago)
Pee is stored in the balls
Jon Brodie (10 months ago)
methane-thiol (thigh-all), not methan ethiol.
Melora Foy (1 year ago)
I don't know if I'm a non-smeller or a non-excreeter, or both. I have never tried smelling anyone else's urine. My mom says hers never smelled different. Cilantro tastes odd to some people, including me. Some hate it and some are ok with it. It is genetic thing where you have an olfactory ability to smell a chemical in cilantro, which also exists in soaps. It makes cilantro taste like soap to them. I researched it. If it is crushed the smell disipates. There is a cilantro and lime pesto you can make and I'm gonna try it soon. I wonder if the cilantro and asparagus differences tend to appear together in some people.
FreeSpirit Sunflower (1 year ago)
"pee on your enemies" 😂
I wonder if any of these geniuses have looked into if i matters are not how it is prepared, because everyone's body is different. I can eat a sliced tomato just fine for instance with no problems, but fry it and give it to me in a Fajita meal and it acts up my acid reflex as the composition has changed. There is more work they need to do, they have solved little.
roughy762004 (1 year ago)
Genevieve Whitney (1 year ago)
here is a question for you. Why does it stink more when you fart in the shower?????
Matt Ryan Padora (1 year ago)
I had asparagus this morning and went to hot yoga this evening. My sweat is totally smelly. I hope the instructor had that specific anosmia to not smell it.
Mike S (1 year ago)
You know that creepy pretzel lady—the one with the bad brunette wig who says, "Prezels, baby!"? Because of her, I'm scared to death of pretzels! Now, I'm kinda creeped out about asparagus.
Guppy Guy (1 year ago)
yes my pee smells great after eating asparagus!
iptik (1 year ago)
the non-excretors are shitting it out or it's a source of kidney stones, HTH
Edgewalker001 (1 year ago)
And I guess, I've never really checked this anywhere but it stands to reason, that skunks can't smell the... Well, the horrifyingly bad parts of their spray. Which is interesting since they basically have that method of defense because so many other animals are SUPER sensitive to those exact compounds, mostly since they are normally given off by really, REALLY rotten food, which we are sort of hardwired to avoid. So if skunks can't smell rotten meat and/or eggs, does that mean they're perfectly fine with eating it too? New topic of study: The immune system of skunks!
I just pissed asparagus juice and watched this
magan miller (1 year ago)
my asparagus pee is very very very strong
smokeystriper (1 year ago)
How bad must you life suck to become a professional pee sniffer?
scitechian (1 year ago)
PSA: Urine is not the only fluid coming out of that hole that will smell awkward after eating asparagus or onion.
Faultty (1 year ago)
Why does brown rice change urine door?
Jayden48 James (1 year ago)
heck no!, YUCK😣😲to the last question he ask. pee smellers must get paid a LOT!
Këlpy_G (1 year ago)
my asparagus pee smells like windex😂
TheMagicalC (1 year ago)
Brandon Booth (2 years ago)
Next, Beet smells...
Megan Moz (2 years ago)
Take notes, Luke Hemmings. Asparagus makes you stink.
Blayze Richardson (2 years ago)
For so long I thought vanilla was scent less, this makes me sad now knowing it isn't.
Blayze Richardson (1 year ago)
Will do.
Eileen Blurrr (1 year ago)
Blayze Richardson It smells like it tastes it's very good. Just eat some vanilla and you'll get the jist of it's smell.
D D (1 year ago)
it smells very nice
Ronald McReynolds (2 years ago)
When it comes to some possible studies, sometimes you just have to say no to knowledge and suck it up.  Or not.
Ardine Eveda (1 year ago)
NEVAR! We must know ALL the things.
Ali Elmoussa (2 years ago)
ur hilarious man
Carlo Van Caramel (2 years ago)
SO, you are a non-smeller, but you are a super taster. IS THERE A LINK? Do you struggle to smell things in general?
TheMagicalC (1 year ago)
Maybe. I'm a smeller and excreter, and have a very good sense of smell.
Poochamoo (2 years ago)
3:57 Indeed.
Teagan P (2 years ago)
Asparagusic acid is sooo creative...
Hiding in my room (2 years ago)
I drink my pee And asparagus pee Tastes gross Since I had it today
ByRecentDesign (2 years ago)
Do the non excreters have a different rate of occurrence of kidney diseases?
ImUhRandii (2 years ago)
1:51 115 people were experimented on. Element 115. Illuminati confirmed.
Andy Crowley Sr. (2 years ago)
I wonder if "non-excretors" just poop it out instead. like the comment on "Asparagas" flatulence
brian554xx (2 years ago)
I have delightfully nasty asparagus pee. Plus, sometimes, what I call "asparagas."
does asparagusic acid melt steel beams?
Brandon McKinney (2 years ago)
Deep Sea (2 years ago)
Hank is totes legit
fuzzeek78 (2 years ago)
question should be, did everyone in the test have the same diet?  Maybe Asparagus+ raw veggie diet= no smell.. or asparagus with pork vs. beef vs. 2000 other foods might have an impact. Idk, waste of tax money at any rate. Who sniffs their piss enough for it to be a huge factor
Ravriem (2 years ago)
+fuzzeek78 Good point about the combinations of food, but I would imagine they would have asked for a fasting period before the tests were performed. And it isn't necessarily a waste of tax money, as it is likely the funding came from other sources. Even it were tax money, the benefit isn't in saving the noses of people who smell asparagus urine. It comes in the fact that it led to a better understanding of the genetic cause of the difference. It might be a small piece of the puzzle, but it still increases our overall understanding.
TCarrot Gaming (2 years ago)
So that's why I can't smell skunk spray... okay!
magan miller (1 year ago)
awesomegreenlantern (2 years ago)
When ever I know I have drug tests, I eat an assload of asperagus to make my pee smell really bad, to punish the poor sucka who tests my pee.
magan miller (1 year ago)
Spoony (1 year ago)
What if the tester cant smell it? Then all your doing is eating healthy, and what's the fun in that?
Andy Crowley Sr. (2 years ago)
Julian Cool (2 years ago)
Any spare pee!!!? Idk I can't smell. 😎 thug life.
Lord Trump (2 years ago)
We need to analyze the shit from those whose pee did not smell bad (by those who can really smell it)
Mimi (2 years ago)
I don't like them so does my dog
April (2 years ago)
I've been trying to convince my mom forever that asparagus makes your pee smell weird and she'd never believe me but NOW I HAVE PROOF. And on a side note, I can't smell cat pee o.O
TLViolynn (2 years ago)
+0aprilanne0 lucky
Mark Guzewski (2 years ago)
It was actually years before I made the connection between my smelly pee and eating asparagus earlier. It used to freak me out a bit. Duh...
Gavin J (2 years ago)
maybe we who don't produce the smelly stuff in our urine fart it out instead, tell your interns to test my farts.
Jo Guth (2 years ago)
Yes, asparagus actually makes my urine smell good to me. In fact, I would eat it to produce that effect even if I didn't like asparagus so much. I happened to be in the bathroom when my hubby went after eating it, and his smelled good, too, though he himself dislikes the smell. I didn't see any other comments from those who like the smell, but I know I'm not alone. Am I? :/
tom8181 (2 years ago)
If people say their piss don't stink from it they lyin
Tj Taylor (2 years ago)
I put a whole bushel of asparagus into my toilet and it did not turn it into any form of perfume.
Patrick Mather (2 years ago)
Your facial reactions in this video, Hank.. Tis golden, and hilarious. ^^ Makes it alot more fun to watch a video about .. Asparagus Pee!
Samantha Barba (2 years ago)
jajajaja loved the way you explain things!!!!... interesting and funny.. fun way to learn new stuff!
BirdDana (3 years ago)
i knew a horse named Asparagus (gus)
MulletGamer (3 years ago)
May I just say.... Nice shirt
Mr GuyMM (3 years ago)
This makes me think that someday someone will develop pills that cover your excretion's foul smell with a selection of pleasant smells...  could call them Pootpourri Pills
Hirobian (3 years ago)
I honestly have no idea if I am a producer or smeller. I know for a fact my mother talked about this once (because geek family, yay) and she most definitely is a person who can smell it and produce it. She also confirmed that my father doesn't produce the smell and he also cannot smell it.  I find this fascinating, since my parents both seem to be the polar opposites in this gene mutation, perhaps I cannot smell it but do produce it. I will have to find out at some point. Unfortunately for me, I actually dislike asparagus so I never eat it. So to conduct the experiment...I'd have to confront eating something I don't like the taste of. :( ...... FOR SCIENCE!
Arieh Sochaczevski (3 years ago)
Was it really necessary to show a politically questionable map of Israel?  Without spinning off into the point, he could have said "Israel", or even better, just the name of the specific institution, without opening up the can of worms inherent in choosing a map of the area?
Kevin Pereira (3 years ago)
Why you got to hate on mint? You herbist!
username (3 years ago)
I heard, that "non-excretors" have special enzyme that breaks down the methanethiol
Rom Koppel (3 years ago)
Andres F (3 years ago)
3:42 - lol....Where do the compounds that aren't excreted go?
pejb83 (3 years ago)
This may have already been asked here but I'll ask anyways, has anyone ever had instances where their urine smells like coffee after drinking a lot of it throughout the day? I mean, sometimes when I take a piss, it is as if I'm brewing fresh coffee lol
ThePulsuhr (3 years ago)
THE MAP OF ISRAEL IS  WRONG !! Seriously, there must be be shown Palesina. Israel attacked  Palestina  and took the teretory  ILEGAL just by killing the poor Palestina  people :(  SchiShow  please  make the  map  right by showing the Palestina in the right area. israels area must be shown as  alot  less.
Dustin Rodriguez (3 years ago)
Wait a second... so people that cannot smell asparagus pee have a 'mutated' gene related to one of their scent receptors... so does that scent receptor pick up something different?  Can they smell something which 'smellers' can not?
Patrick Pesla (3 years ago)
I eat a lot of asparagus, and within a matter of minutes, asparagus pee. Lol.
iceCandyxx (3 years ago)
Hank is just amazing haha, thanks SciShow for explaining asparagus pee!
pinkpandamiranda (3 years ago)
I'm a non-excreter and a non-smeller. For a long time when I was a kid I had no idea what people were talking about when someone said they had asparagus pee. But I just brushed it off until this video.
Condor Boss (3 years ago)
I both excrete the asparagus compounds and can smell them. However, I also am allergic to the damn stuff to the extent that I will vomit if I eat more than a single spear. Needless to say, I avoid asparagus.
MadMonsterGaming (3 years ago)
Arianna Luncford (3 years ago)
Can you imagine being on the team that had to smell that many containers of urine? eww............. 
Timur Sultanov (3 years ago)
I can't smell apples... About asparagus, even though I do eat it, never thought about whether my urine smells...
citizen 3585 (3 years ago)
then I am sure that you either can't smell it in your urine or you aren't an 'excreter'...is that what it's called? It's smells strong, I don't like it, so you're lucky! 
AgreeOrDie (3 years ago)
When you eat more than 4 oranges, then your cum smells like orange zest in 5 hours.
Nophera (3 years ago)
Imagine the scientists sitting in the lab alone with their thoughts. "I can't believe I went to college for 8 years to sniff other people's piss"
blandantey (3 years ago)
wow, so much research on pee.
LadyPashta (3 years ago)
ROFL, Hank, funniest one so far!!
neyan (3 years ago)
I wouldn't know if I was an excreted or smeller or not because asparagus is gross as shit and belongs to hell
Q:why do concussions accumulate?
Unstoppablism (3 years ago)
Oh scientists, smelling jars of pee for humanity. Rock on brave warriors!
Kasey Dietrich (3 years ago)
I should do this promising experimenting. :) lolz
wayne smith (3 years ago)
That means people smelled each other's pee
Ben Libal (3 years ago)
Monocot doesn't mean one leaf, it means one cotyledon.  A cotyledon is a mass of tissue that holds nutrients for the developing plant (like an egg sack for a baby bird), not an organ that supplies the plant with nutrients by photosynthesis.  Nitpicky, but an important difference (making the mistake in biology class means losing points).
David Puncikar (3 years ago)
Nicholas Haller (3 years ago)
Someone smelt 115 of peoples' pee?
Cathulu Tesla (3 years ago)
CoxTH (3 years ago)
Hm about the question where the compounds go I have two hypotheses: 1. The asparagusic acid simply isn't broken down in the body of non-excretors. (I haven't found any information on the smell of asparagusic acid itself, so I don't know about that one) 2. Non-excretors are able to break down the smelly compounds even further into odourless compounds.
Grito de Guerra (3 years ago)
please shorten these videos and be briefly, more precised and you'll have a shitload of viewers more than you already have. You're great and interesting, but you lack direction, go straight to the point.
jamarious Mcmahon (3 years ago)
but what if there body evolved to digest the chemicals   
Robbin Sandlin (3 years ago)
How about studying why I used to be able to smell asparagus in my urine, but now when I eat asparagus, I no longer smell it. 
DelberCrankToggle (3 years ago)
yes just yes
Lynn Heiple (3 years ago)
who wouldn't love that video??? now i know why my pee stinks after eating asparagus!  That dude is funny! I like him.
johnny knelsen (3 years ago)
00:40 ello
Nate Merrill (3 years ago)
Please call it ASPARAPEE. Not asparagus pee. Thanks.
ArchAngelSlayer1 (3 years ago)
We built the atomic bomb in roughly 5 years but it's taken more than a century to answer this question?  Come on science.

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