This protein makes armpits reek, and scientists want to stop it

By HealthDay News  |  July 10, 2018 at 7:03 PM
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TUESDAY, July 10, 2018 -- Afraid to raise your hand because of embarrassing body odor? Here's some good news for you: Scientists say they're one step closer to conquering smelly armpits.

Researchers in England say they've identified a protein that enables bacteria in your armpits to take up odorless compounds in sweat and make it stink.

According to the investigators, it may be possible to develop new deodorants that target this protein, known as a "transport" protein.

Study co-author Gavin Thomas, of the University of York's department of biology, pointed out that underarm skin provides a hospitable home for bacteria.

"Through the secretions of various glands that open onto the skin or into hair follicles, this environment is nutrient-rich and hosts its own microbial community," he said in a university news release.

Modern deodorants work by inhibiting or killing many of those bacteria in order to prevent odor, Thomas explained.

"This study, along with our previous research revealing that only a small number of the bacteria in our armpits are actually responsible for bad smells, could result in the development of more targeted products that aim to inhibit the transport protein and block the production of body odor," Thomas said.

The new study was published online July 3 in the journal eLife.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on sweat.

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