TMAU and black cohosh represent a condition and possible treatment; both are relatively unfamiliar to most individuals.
What Is TMAU
TMAU (Trimethylaminuria) is a rare condition that, until recently, was unrecognized by even medical professionals. The National Organization for Rare Disorders describes the condition as a genetically mediated disorder, which appears to be inherited. The symptoms of the condition occur because the body is unable to metabolize TMA (trimethylamine) to TMA-oxide in the liver. TMA is derived form the diet and is present in many foods, which makes it difficult to eliminate the irritating substance that leads to the symptoms.
When TMA builds up in the body, individuals with TMAU excrete a foul odor, akin to rotten fish. The odor comes form the breath, sweat and urine and can be so intense, it disrupts daily life for those affected. Individuals with the disorder may be shunned or teased by others. Often, the affected individuals experience depression and may isolate themselves form others to avoid criticism.
Who Can Get TMAU
Anyone can get TMAU. The condition is rare but has been diagnosed in men, woman, children and infants. Mutations in a certain gene cause the condition; however, some individuals develop the symptoms as a result of certain proteins in the diet or an increase in bacteria that typically produces TMA in the digestive system. In addition, few cases have been reported in adults with liver of kidney disease and in healthy women at the beginning of their menstrual cycles.
Symptoms of TMAU
The most prominent symptom of TMAU is pungent body odor. Despite their best hygienic efforts, individuals with TMAU are unable to prevent or mask the odor. The degree of the odor may vary from person to person, depending upon the types of foods that were eaten and hormones in the body. Some individuals with the condition reported seizures, skin rashes and other maladies, though the majority is healthy.
No cures for TMAU exist. However, individuals may help reduce the intense odor with diet modifications and low doses of antibiotics, which may reduce the offending bacteria from developing in the body. Foods that aggravate TMAU include foods high in choline and trimethylamine, such as:
- Soy products
- Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and peas
This list is not an exhaustive list of all the foods that are offensive. Avoiding many of them may create a nutritional deficit, which could lead to a host of other conditions.
TMAU and Black Cohosh
Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family. The perennial plant is native to North America, where it is sold as a dietary supplement for the treatment of a multitude of ailments, such as hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. No studies have been done to show benefits to TMAU sufferers, however, black cohosh has been used to aide women with body odor caused by hormone imbalances in menopause. Black cohosh is safe and can be found in various forms, such as:
Talk to your doctor before beginning any herbal treatment. The safety and efficacy of black cohosh for TMAU is not proven beyond six months.
Testing for TMAU
If you suffer with unusual and volatile body odor, despite good hygiene practices, consider being tested for TMAU. Other causes you may consider ruling out include halitosis or glandular diseases. If you have TMAU and black cohosh is something you'd like to try, talk to a doctor or herbalist.