(ORDO NEWS) — During communication with older people, you can notice that some strange smell comes from them.
One gets the feeling that they all use some special perfume that smells like a mixture of medicinal herbs. Or you might think that their clothes have absorbed the flavors of the dishes they cook in the kitchen.
In general, it is very difficult to describe this smell, but for sure many people understand what it is about.
Scientists are also aware of this phenomenon, and they even tried to identify the source of this “senile” smell. In a study conducted in 2001, they were able to find the chemical element responsible for it.
For two decades, other researchers could not find a single refutation of the conclusion. Looks like the secret is out?
In the course of an experiment conducted at the beginning of the 21st century, it was found that older people smell far from perfumes – this is the smell of chemicals produced by their bodies.
The essence of the experiment conducted by Japanese researchers was that they offered volunteers aged 26 to 75 to wear shirts that absorb odors from their bodies for three nights.
After that, the authors of the scientific work removed the collected molecules and passed them through a mass spectrometer – an apparatus that can recognize substances and determine their concentration.
In all T-shirts, scientists found a complex mixture of substances. Their concentration was almost the same, which means that older people smell no stronger than younger ones.
But the researchers nevertheless found something interesting – the clothes of people over the age of 40 contained the aldehyde 2-nonenal. And the older the person was, the more this substance was.
Contrary to the expectations of the researchers, it turned out that the aldehyde 2-nonenal is not excreted along with sweat.
It turned out that the skin of aged people releases unsaturated omega-7 fatty acids, which decompose in the air and then turn into 2-nonenal.
Despite the fact that a small group of 22 people took part in the experiment, there are no questions about the fidelity of the conclusions of scientists – other groups of researchers could not refute them.
Scientists describe the smell emanating from the elderly as “greasy herbal”. But old age does not necessarily mean that a person will necessarily start to smell like herbs.
During the experiment, in the clothes of some volunteers, the concentration of 2-nonenal was at such a low level that the mass spectrometer could hardly detect it.
This means that the senile smell does not occur in all people. But what affects this, no one knows – the reason for its occurrence has not yet been studied.
Why older people smell like medicinal herbs is not known to scientists, but there are a couple of interesting suggestions.
Some scientists believe that a strong smell was passed on to us from distant ancestors, but they don’t know why this feature of the body is needed.
A more truthful version says that the aging body secretes more omega-7 acids, but the reason for this, again, remains unknown.
It is worth noting that in some cases, people may smell bad, not herbs. This is mainly due to various diseases such as colitis, dysbacteriosis, diabetes, improper functioning of the sebaceous glands and problems with the teeth.
Also, an unpleasant odor can be associated with the intake of certain drugs – they enter the bloodstream and are able to accumulate in the organs, after which they are slowly excreted.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that older people find it more difficult to take care of themselves, and odors can be the result of poor hygiene.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that human aging occurs unevenly – some organs age earlier than others.
This was proven in an experiment involving 4,000 people who provided scientists with the results of their tests, skin photographs and other information necessary for the study.
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