Do smells like perfume bother you and make you feel sick?


Article by Dr. Houston Anderson~ cutting edge natural medicine

Sensitive Noses – Aldehyde Sniff Test

perfume aldehyde toxicityAldehyde/Odor Sniff Test

Are you someone who can smell everything? Do you have chemical sensitivities to smells, perfumes, smoke, odors in shopping malls, etc.?  Do you get headaches from chemical smells?  It could be the aldehyde.

What is in a smell?

All of the most common scents that we smell come from a chemical called an aldehyde.  Aldehydes smells include perfumes, deodorant smells, new car smell and even fruit smells like bananas, almonds and strawberries.

Common Sources of Aldehydes

  • dyessmell sensitivity nutrient deficiencies
  • essential oils
  • fabrics
  • plastics
  • fuels
  • plywood
  • particleboard
  • foam
  • carpets
  • furniture
  • floors
  • alcohol

As you can see, aldehyde exposure is extremely common.  In fact if you live in a modern home it is unlikely that you can avoid them.  But, luckily your body should be very good at detoxifying these toxic chemicals.  Unfortunately once again it is very common that you are unable to detoxify them properly and your body suffers the consequences.

Symptoms of Acetaldehyde Toxicity

First and foremost acetaldehyde acts as a neurotoxin and can alter brain function. Things like brain fog, headaches, etc. can be linked to an inability to break down aldehydes. In addition acetaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

Even more common is the depletion of nutrients used to metabolize aldehydes.  The more exposure you have the more individual vitamins will be depleted as time goes on.  One of the common depletions you will find is a vitamin B1 depletion.  Vitamin B1, thiamin, (aka the nerve vitamin) is important for nerves and neurotransmitters.  Depletion of B1 can lead to emotional instability, confusion, depression, fatigue, headaches, sensitivity to noise, insomnia, fatigue, memory problems, brain fog or even a feeling of impending doom.

Sometimes aldehyde sensitivity can be related to other types of sensitivities such as hydrocarbons and sulfites.  Many people are familiar with sulfite sensitivity due to their content in foods and wines.

Sources of Acetaldehyde

One of the most important and least treated sources of acetaldehyde is fungal infection.  Candida for example creates acetaldehyde as a byproduct of its natural metabolism of sugar.  While there is a “normal” amount of fungi in the body, many people have too much.  Things like excess sugar, high carbohydrate diets, chronic stress and antibiotic therapy has many people stuck in the cycle of chronic fungal infections.  Avoiding antibiotics and finding the right natural herbal antimicrobial to decrease detrimental fungal infections is key.  If you are someone who suffers from chronic
Candida infections, you may be suffering from a biofilm or simply using the wrong product for your condition.  Two people with the same condition can need completely different antimicrobials to fight an infection. Even if you don’t think you have a fungal infection, optimizing digestive health is critical for eliminating aldehyde exposure.

The nutrient link is the secret to the reason why having a fungal problem leads to other sensitivities.  The fungus depletes the nutrients used to detoxify and leaves your body unable to detoxify common products you encounter.  Without being able to detoxify, you can be led to chemical sensitivities and even seasonal allergies.

Getting Rid of Aldehydes

To cut to the chase the most common products I see to help with aldehyde toxicity is molybdenum and selenium.  Other nutrients include B2 (riboflavin), B3 (Niacinamide), Iron and Vitamin E.  During a standard treatment in my office, aldehydes usually show to be a problem when assessing the liver, but they can also affect other organs such as the brain, lungs, sinuses or small intestine.

I have also recently found that L-cysteine-S by Nutri-West can be beneficial in helping to decrease systemic aldehyde toxicity due to its ability to support the liver by supporting detox (sulfation).


The most important things to help your body deal with aldehyde toxicity is to make sure you have your digestion and gut as healthy as possible as well as making sure you have adequate molybdenum and selenium in your diet. Sometimes sucking on a tablet of molybdenum can help if you know you are going to be exposed to high levels of chemical toxins such as at the mall or in a freshly painted room.

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