I love fresh sweet asparagus as much as anyone, but holy hell. The STINK in the bathroom after eating the most minute amount often stops me from indulging - never eat any before travelling or when I know I will have to share a public washroom.
Don't want to poison anybody going in there after me!
All this brought on by my lovely improvised dinner of rice sauteed in olive oil, garlic, chopped steamed baby asparagus and shredded edam cheese. mmm-mmm good! The stench that will come later when I will pee - not so good.
Only 40 to 50% of the population is affected, eh?
I lifted this from the web:
Asparagus, a green vegetable belonging to the lily family, has one notorious side effect for some diners who eat enough of it. Within a half-hour of asparagus consumption, some people notice their urine has acquired a very pungent odor, often compared to rotting cabbage, ammonia or rotten eggs. The effects of asparagus on urine are generally fleeting and harmless, but it's not necessarily the consumer's finest hour, bodily excretion-wise.
Scientists are still not entirely sure which set of chemicals or amino acids contained in asparagus actually cause the smelly pee. The stalks themselves do not acquire a similar odor as they are prepared, so whatever happens most likely happens after ingestion.
Experts believe that those with a certain gene produce a digestive enzyme which breaks down the asparagus into various amino acids. One of those compounds is called methyl mercaptan, which is the same chemical which gives a skunk its defensive smell. One theory suggests that asparagus breaks down quickly in the body and an enzyme releases methyl mercaptan, which eventually goes through the kidneys and is excreted as a waste product in the urine.
Others suggest that the asparagus smell is created by other amino acid compounds called thioesters. There is also an amino acid called asparagusic acid, which is not surprisingly found primarily in asparagus. If these compounds are broken down and mixed with the genetically-created enzyme, the results could be a strong smelling urine. This smell is actually considered to be good news, since it proves that the asparagus eater's kidneys are functioning as they should.
Erm, ok. My kidneys function well, thankyouverymuch.
Pass the gas mask.