How Bacteria, Genetics, Diet and Hygiene All Contribute to the Unpleasant Stench of Body Odor

In a pungent Ted Ed lesson written by educator Mel Rosenberg and animated by Els Decaluwe, narrator Addison Anderson explains from where body odor comes, the specific bacteria that cause the odor and how a person’s genetic makeup, diet and hygiene habits contribute to the strength of the odor.

Most of us don’t need more than one whiff to identify that generally unpleasant, characteristic smell we call body odor. But it’s a surprisingly complex phenomenon, influenced by our genetic makeup, age, diet, and hygiene. So what is this odor, exactly? Where does it come from? And can we do anything about it? Mel Rosenberg dives into the stinky science of body odor.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.