How Do You Get Rid of Stinky Feet?

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Stinky feet

Are you embarrassed because your Stinky feet? Have you tried over-the-counter remedies only to find they didn?t work? Are you afraid that your foot odor will be noticed by your spouse or friends? Even though conventional medicine is very well aware that smelly feet is a problem, it does not offer a long-term solution. Sometimes prescription drugs like DrySol work, but they can?t be used for extended periods of time. Needless to say, over-the-counter solutions don?t solve the problem in the long run. 

Why it is so difficult to do something about the smell? We have the Internet and computers, we went to the Moon, we decoded the human genome, but we can?t do something about stinky feet?

Because conventional medicine does not offer an effective solution for smelly feet and because my patients were asking for help, I had to run my own investigation.  To get to the bottom of the problem I had to find out why feet smell in the first place. Is it really an offensive odor, or is it just our perception?

Some people can?t tolerate even perfume because of an increased sensitivity to any odor. The most likely cause of this problem is an inflammation in the area where smell receptors are located. Normally, we sense a smell by special receptors called ?olfactory bulbs?, located in the upper part of the nose. The molecule that?s responsible for odor binds to this receptor, creating the sense of a certain smell. But if the receptor is damaged (most often by an upper respiratory tract infection or due to an inflammation because of allergies), then even perfume can be sensed as an offensive odor. This is called Dysosmia. It?s comparable to someone you love caressing your hand. If it?s healthy -- caressing is pleasant. But what if you have a paper cut or a fractured finger? Then even a gentle caress can cause pain.  Same here: a damaged nose cannot process odors properly. But what if everything is supposedly ok with your nose, yet you still feel that your feet smell. What is producing this offensive odor?

From the beginning it looked apparent: the cause of the smell is from the byproducts of the degradation of skin secretions, like sweat, sebum, dead cells, etc., by skin bacteria. Therefore, stinky feet have three components: the sweat itself, nutrients in the sweat to feed bacteria, and the bacteria themselves.  But why do some feet smell and some don?t? It?s perfectly normal to have bacteria on your skin, but it isn?t normal for feet to smell. Could it be much more than the simple smell? Could smelly feet portend something else more dangerous than just the smell? Normally, odor is used for communication - our odor is caused by special substances produced by our body-Pheromone, which triggers social responses. What it means is that smells created by pheromones can attract or make other people run away (so called ?alarm pheromones?). Pheromones are secreted by the individual himself. Is it pheromone that makes our feet smell?  Sounds unlikely, as alarm pheromones are produced to signal temporary danger from an approaching predator, not a constant threat. Could it be something else? Scientists believe that there are 7 primary odors:

  1. Musky: perfumes.
  2. Putrid: rotten eggs.
  3. Pungent: vinegar.
  4. Camphoraceous:  mothballs
  5. Ethereal: dry cleaning fluid.
  6. Floral: roses.
  7. Peppermint: mint. Because stinky feet do not smell like perfume or roses, peppermint or vinegar, may be something is decaying and that?s the source of the smell? 

What it is clear: sweat, dead cells and sebum. But why? Then I learned something that shocked me. Normally our skin has an acidic environment which kills bacteria. Hence, if it is changed to a alkali, bacteria can flourish and start degrading dead cells, sweat and sebum. If we use soap (which is a alkali), our skin won?t be acidic anymore, losing the defense mechanism which protects our skin from a bacterial invasion. I?m not suggesting that soaps should not be used at all, but in my opinion their use should be minimized.

To help with smelly feet we need three things to happen:

  1. Decrease sweat production.
  2. Remove nutrients that are beneficial for bacteria from the sweat.
  3. Kill bacteria.

The first problem does not have an easy solution, because too much sweating can be caused not only by your genes, but most of the time -, by hormonal or neurotransmitter imbalances.  Classic example: thyroid or adrenal problems. Therefore, you need to consult your family doctor or a functional medicine doctor to find the root cause of the problem.  A quick fix would be Botox injections into the foot to reduce sweating. Consult your doctor before deciding about Botox. The second issue is relatively easy to solve: avoid carbohydrates, because sugar is what bacteria want. The third solution is easy to say, but difficult to achieve. You could try bactericidal soaps. Another solution was suggested by a friend of mine:  ?People do not know how to get rid of smelly feet and spend a lot of money on it - but the solution is very cheap: put a half tea spoon of Boric Acid into your socks before going out and see what happens!?  What Boric acid does is: kill bacteria. Consult your doctor before considering using Boric Acid or bactericidal soaps for smelly feet.

Bottom line:

  1. Reduce your sweating by finding the root cause of it.
  2. Stay away from carbohydrates, especially refined.
  3. Try bactericidal soaps after consulting with your doctor.

If you have better ideas please share your knowledge and let us know, help other people to get rid of smelly feet. Good luck! (1) http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/anatomy/question5… (2) http://www.livestrong.com/article/309171-smelly-feet-boric-acid/ (3) (3)http://www.hotona.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2208… (4)  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-robert-a-kornfeld/smelly-feet_b_851650… (5)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pheromone (6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odor (7) http://ezinearticles.com/?Importance-of-Your-Skins-pH&id=55208 (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_mantle

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