Consumption of garlic affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour



Fialova J, Roberts SC & Havlicek J (2016) Consumption of garlic affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour. Appetite, 97, pp. 8-15.

Beneficial health properties of garlic, as well as its most common adverse effect – distinctive breath odour – are well-known. In contrast, analogous research on the effect of garlic on axillary odour is currently missing. Here, in three studies varying in the amount and nature of garlic provided (raw garlic in study 1 and 2, garlic capsules in study 3), we tested the effect of garlic consumption on the quality of axillary odour. A balanced within-subject experimental design was used. In total, 42 male odour donors were allocated to either a “garlic” or “non-garlic” condition, after which they wore axillary pads for 12h to collect body odour. One week later, the conditions were reversed. Odour samples were then judged for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity by 82 women. We foundnosignificant differences in ratings of any characteristics in study 1. However, the odour of donors after an increased garlic dosage was assessed as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense (study 2), and more attractive and less intense in study 3. Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity, perhaps due to its health effects (e.g.,antioxidantproperties,antimicrobialactivity).

Allium sativum; Diet; Health; Antioxidant; Sexual selection

Appetite: Volume 97

Publication date01/02/2016
Publication date online06/11/2015
Date accepted by journal02/11/2015

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Professor Craig Roberts

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology, Psychology