Do old people smell?


The chemist and researcher José María Antón, explained that the “old man’s smell” is real and that it has nothing to do with sweat or other bodily fluids with external dirt:

” It is caused by 2-nonelal, a molecule that is generated in the skin by naturally oxidising the fatty acids of the lipid barrier .”

José María Antón, a researcher for years in biotechnology for the  CSIC  and president and founder of the  Prima-Derm group , added:

“The 2-nonenal smells really bad. So much so that when we open a capsule with that molecule in the laboratory, everything sucks. “

The smell is easy to recognize, it is a rancid aroma that gets impregnated in the pillows and clothes of the elderly. The Japanese of the Shiseido company was the first to document it in 2001, for their culture smells are often considered an invasion of the common space, there are many studies on the functioning of the oxidation of fatty acids and how to mitigate the bad body odor. Even so, the Japanese, very respectful with their elders, call this peculiar bodily essence of the elders ‘kareishu’.

José María Antón, ensures that this odor begins to appear from 30-40 years of age when the hormonal changes of maturity bring as a consequence an increase in the production of lipids on the surface of the skin; “Hence, many people say that there are elderly people who have stronger smells”

At this age, our antioxidant capacity begins to reduce our antioxidant capacity which results in “exponentially increase that peroxidation, generating more than 2-nonenal and the body smells worse and worse” El País explained

The researcher said that sweat has nothing to do with us producing that smell as we get older and it is almost certain that we do not perceive it either, as we get older, we lose olfactory capacity, from the 70s the loss is so remarkable that almost we are as immune to the bad smell as children under 8 years of age

Source: el pais, televisa news

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