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Ammonia-like smell after a long run

asked almost 6 years ago | Report

Can anyone tell me what's up with smelling like ammonia after a long run? This hasn't happened recently, but earlier in the summer after several long runs my sweat smelled like -- well, like ammonia. And I don't know what's up with that or if it's something to be concerned about. Sorry if this is TMI for anyone, and thanks in advance for any insights.

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  • I had the same question a few months back. I was a little concerned and did some research. Ammonia is a by-product when protein is broken down. This typically happens when your body is out of fuel. Try taking in more carbohydrates for energy. Also, if your not drinking enough, the ammonia will be excreted through sweat whereas it typically flushes out in your urine.

    answered almost 6 years ago |Report

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  • I used to get this all the time with major heavy weight workouts in high school and then pick up b-ball in the gym afterwards. I know this is gross... I loved it. Always knew I worked extremely hard that day.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Get this too. I started taking Hammer's Anti-Fatigue capsules. I do occasionally have the ammonia smell but feel ok since adding them into my longer workouts. It says on their site that they were specifically designed to "scavenge excess ammonia".

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • I know I've passed into that area when the sweat actually starts to burn my eyes a little bit. That could just be the dried salt from the sweat, but I doubt ammonia helps that situation.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • A competitive cyclist friend of mine said that this happens to him when he's out of fuel (as Kelly stats), and that the ammonia smell is a result of burning muscle instead of fat or carbs. I had this issue as well, and since I mainly run at lunchtime, I started to take a gel 15 minutes before I go out, and I haven't experienced this issue since.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Yep, it is your body using protein as fuel because you have run out of carbs. you start breaking down the amino acids in protein, and one of the by products is ammonia. Released through your sweat. You need more carbs prerun and/or during your run.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • I've had that before on occasion but never thought much about it. Good info.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Maybe you ran so long that you wet yourself ;-)

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • You learn something everyday. I just thought I really worked hard that day. My wife just bought a laundry bag just for my running clothes. Boy I feel special. :-P

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • That's great info!!! I just had this happen to me yesterday when I noticed not really an ammonia "odor" but definitely the tingling effect that it has on the nose when you breathe it in. Lesson learned, eat more pre-run carbs. No one wants to burn off their own muscle!

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Just to confirm what others have said - you're burning muscle. In general, that's a BAD thing - you're hurting yourself and, of course, undoing your progress. Do a little search on training nutrition.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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