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Over the past few decades, many researchers and medical experts have studied trimethylaminuria, an interesting condition genetic condition. This rare metabolic disorder prevents the body from creating a specific enzyme. Without this enzyme, a person exudes a powerful fishy odor or strong body odor. As you might imagine, the disorder has earned many descriptive nicknames, including fish odor syndrome and fish malodor syndrome.

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1. Causes

Most cases of trimethylaminuria are the result of mutations in the FMO3 gene that instructs the body on how to create the enzyme that breaks down compounds containing nitrogen, like trimethylamine. Because of the mutation, the body never creates the enzyme, and as such, compounds are not converted to less odorous alternatives. To correct for this, the body releases the fishy-smelling trimethylamine any way it can, most often through sweat, breath, and urine. Occasionally, trimethylaminuria occurs in people without gene mutations. Diet, hormone imbalances, or high levels of trimethylamine-producing bacteria can cause the issue, as well.

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