Axillary body odour is individually specific and potentially a rich source of information about its producer.
Odour individuality partly results from genetic individuality, but the influence of ecological factors such as eating habits are another main source of odour variability.
To find out about how particular dietary components shape our body odour, Havlicek and Lenochova, researchers at Charles University, Prague, tested the effect of red meat consumption on body odour attractiveness.
They used a balanced within-subject experimental design. Seventeen male odour donors were on "meat" or "nonmeat" diet for 2 weeks wearing axillary pads to collect body odour during the final 24 h of the diet.
Fresh odour samples were assessed for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity by 30 women not using hormonal contraceptives.
The same procedure was repeated a month later with the same odour donors, each on the opposite diet than before.
Results of repeated measures analysis of variance showed that the odour of donors when on the nonmeat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense.
Havlicek J, Lenochova P. The effect of meat consumption on body odor attractiveness. Chem Senses. 2006 Oct;31(8):747-52.
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