In a 2000 study, scientists found that people's concentration of the compound 2-nonenal increased with age beginning at around age 40. They theorized that 2-nonenal was produced by the breakdown of fatty acid chains in the skin. Somewhat surprisingly, subjects who smelled the age-related odor (and were unaware of its source) rated it as less intense and less unpleasant than odors from younger people.
Elderly People Smell Different
Key Facts In This Video
Trimethylamine, a chemical produced by gut bacteria, can smell like rotting fish or urine. 00:33
Researchers think that elderly people develop a distinct smell because of changes in the skin's glands and secretions. 01:16
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body lacks insulin and breaks down fat for fuel, causing a sickeningly sweet aroma. 02:18
Wake up with the smartest email in your inbox.
Our Best Articles Daily