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What causes an odor in urine after eating asparagus?

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Some people, four in ten, notice their urine has a strong sulfur odor after eating asparagus. This appears to be produced by two sulphur-containing compounds. As few as five or six spears of asparagus are enough to produce a pronounced odor. It appears in the urine in just a few hours after eating and is not indicative of a harmful reaction.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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