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Ammonia Odor in Urine

vat of ammonia   Manufactured ammonia is used in a number of household products, especially window cleaners.

 

Bacteria as a Cause

I tried to find information about this problem for years, and eventually I came across a couple of ideas regarding causes for this condition. The first one was from Adelle Davis' old nutrition books. According to Ms. Davis, when putrefactive bacteria are allowed to grow in the digestive system, they produce histamine and release quantities of ammonia. This irritates intestinal membranes and causes ammonia to leak into the bloodstream resulting in nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite and other signs of toxicity. She recommended eating yogurt with live cultures or consuming acidophilus milk or supplements to keep the putrefactive bacteria in check. This was also noted on a MedlinePlus web site that noted that "bacteria usually increase the pH as they break down urea to ammonia."

High Acid Levels

The second cause was listed in a booklet I bought about pH in the body. In this booklet the author notes that ammonia release can occur when the body is too acid. She wrote that the ammonia smell is from the body excreting large quantities of ammonia, a very alkaline substance, to try to maintain a proper pH balance. Her suggested solution to this problem was to eat more alkaline foods.

The interesting thing about these two different ideas is that they are pretty much polar opposites. By taking acidophilus supplements as Ms. Davis suggested, I believe this makes the body more acid, which is the opposite of the treatment to consume more alkaline foods. (When my friends and family have taken too much acidophilus, we've noticed we've developed heart burn and acid stomachs, conditions generally associated with being too acidic.)


Relationship to Urine pH

If you are a longtime reader of my web site, you'll know that I used to think Ms. Davis' version caused my problem, but now I'm not so sure. I noticed recently that I developed an ammonia smell in my urine after going on a low carb diet, the kind of diets which are known for putting bodies in a state of ketoacidosis. The ammonia smell went away when I went off the diet and started eating more carbs, and presumably increased the alkalinity of my body in the process.

On a separate occasion, I noticed an ammonia smell after buying a low calorie salad dressing that was low on oil and very high on vinegar. So in this case my body was not too acid from a low carb diet, but was probably too acid from consuming too much of this acidic salad dressing. I tested my urine with pH test strips and it indeed was very acidic. As soon as I cut out the dressing and ate more alkaline foods, my urine returned to a normal pH and the ammonia smell went away.

For an interesting link on the subject of ketoacidosis from the Atkins diet, read an article from the BBC called, Low carb diet health risk fears.

 

 

Related sections of interest:

Acid - Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

Acidic and Alkaline Food Lists

Acid, Alkaline and Neutral Food Chart

What causes an ammonia smell in the urine?

Dry Mouth - Xerostomia

Sweaty Heads, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

 

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