Garlic Just Might Make Your Armpits Sexy

It’s an interesting tale of risks and benefits. Just about everyone knows about the risk of garlic breath. But who knew that garlic could make your armpits smell sexy? No kidding, in an elegant, placebo-controlled, crossover study, Jitka Fialová, Craig Roberts, and Jan Havlíčeka found that “garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity.”

They tested natural crushed garlic mixed with cheese on bread in two different doses, using cheese without the garlic as the placebo control. They also tested garlic capsules versus matched placebo capsules. Male students at Charles University in Prague consumed the garlic and provided the armpit odor samples on cotton pads. Female students, blinded to the conditions that produced the odor samples, rated them for pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity. They found a dose effect with the natural garlic and confirmed the effect with the a single dose of garlic capsules.

The researchers speculate that the effect they’ve observed may be the result of an evolutionary phenomenon, saying:

Formation of preferences for diet-associated body odours was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection (Fialová, Roberts, & Havlíček, 2013). Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition.

Now there’s a solid reason for eating a healthy diet.

Click here to read the study in Appetite.

Shoulder, photograph © Brian / flickr

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November 20, 2015

2 Responses to “Garlic Just Might Make Your Armpits Sexy”

  1. November 20, 2015 at 7:44 am, Allen Browne said:


    • November 20, 2015 at 7:48 am, Ted said:

      Ha! I need all the help I can get, Allen.