Once you start fish oils in rare situations you may note a “fishy” smell around your toddler. The following will cover why this happens and how in all but rare cases this can be corrected!
I probably don’t stress this often enough for all new people to see it but with fish oil you want to serve with:
- Disposable plastics
- Metal silverware
- Ceramic type dishes
Don’t use reusable plastic as the oil will bind to the plastic. Think spaghetti sauce and rubbermaid and how the container will turn orange -that’s because the oil binds to the plastic. When you wash the sippy cups and other reusable plastic you are not going to remove all the oil..and thus the horrid fish oil steam. If your resusable plastics have been used already and smell like fish, you’ll probably want to throw those dishes and cups away and start fresh.
As far as smelly kids -not one case once investigated here linked to the oils being digested.
Remember we are dealing with toddlers and fish oil. If they wipe their mouth on their hand and then on their clothing -it will take around 3 washes to come out. Always blot your child’s mouth with a paper towel once they get their fish oils to make sure you remove as much oil as possible from going anywhere but in their body -not hair, clothing and goodness forbid; furniture!!!
In the past 11 years there is only one child (and his mom who is a doctor) who ended up possibly having a rare metabolic reason for a fish smell. There are in all other cases much more common reasons from this group which are covered in the following messages (names have been removed for privacy)
[childrensapraxianet] Re: smelling something fishy?
So far to date not one child has been found to have the following condition which is VERY VERY rare -and the issue wouldn’t just be fish oil. I pretty much guarantee if your child smells of fish…he’s got some on his lips that he is wiping on the back of his hand.. and from there -only goodness knows where! But takes 3 times at least to get fish oil out of fabric and if he wipes it on your couch – not much you can do. And yes hair would be one area they would wipe it.
Thing to do, serve fish oil, have a paper towel handy and right after fish oils go into the mouth -blot the lips right away with the paper towel. Give them something to drink and blot again -you will be shocked how much fish oil is not only sticks to the outside of their lips -but just inside as well….I mean it is oil 🙂
Below are two archives that answer more about the rare condition -again doubt highly it’s this – just messy kids. Buy lots of lemon and wash those clothes over and over and going ahead use the paper towel method. I probably should share this more often -sorry!
Re: Smelling fishy
K if you are smelling fish when your child sweats, make sure it’s him and not his clothes. Once fish oil gets into the clothes -you have to wash a few times in hot water to get it (and the smell) out all the way. Someone once posted which soap was best. I know my brother is a captain and a maritime attorney, and on the ships they use lemon to clean away any fish smells off the ships.
I know it’s hard to get the oil out of clothes because T once wiped his mouth with the back of his hand -and then wiped his hand on his shorts. I was the only one who could still smell the fish after I washed the shorts like 3 times! I finally got the smell out. Now whenever I give T oil (if he doesn’t swallow the capsules) he has a napkin to wipe his mouth -and knows not to use his clothes.
If you are sure it’s him -and is coming out when he sweats, this is rare. I would talk to his pediatrician about being tested for TRIMETHYLAMINURIA (NIH article here)
Sometimes I smell like a fish
Dear Dr. Zebra: I wash all the time, but the other kids say I stink like rotten fish. They make up rhymes about me and nobody will eat lunch with me. Nobody will sit beside me on the bus. It makes me cry. I take baths all the time. I used to scrub myself with a scrub brush until my mother found out. Sometimes it’s okay, but then I stink again. I cry a lot, because nothing helps. Even my grandma says I don’t wash right. Sometimes I would like to crawl under my bed and never come out. What can I do?
Please don’t use my real name.
“Hal” from Denmark, South Carolina
“Cheer up, Hal–I am almost certain the problem is something you eat. If that’s right, the smell will go away as soon as you stop eating those foods.
To find out, your doctor should test you for trimethylaminuria, which is a long way to say that when you eat fish, eggs, liver, kidney, or soybeans, your body does not digest these things quite the way other bodies do. These foods have a chemical called choline (say it like KO-leen), which germs in the gut digest into trimeth-ylamines (just call them TMA). TMA smells fishy–very fishy, in fact.
For most people that fishy smell doesn’t matter because their body turns TMA into something else, TMA oxide, which does not smell at all. But in people with trimethylaminuria, their bodies cannot change the TMA. So the TMA comes out in their sweat, urine, and breath, and no matter how much these people scrub, the TMA makes them smelly. Having this problem does not make people sick in any way, but it certainly is embarrassing.
You say that sometimes the fishy smell goes away, which makes me think that if you stay away from foods with choline, you’ll be fine. The worst foods for you would be fish, eggs, liver, and kidney. Avoid them. If that’s not enough, then you should also stay away from soybeans, peas, and mayonnaise. (Think of that–a doctor’s excuse not to eat liver and tofu!)
Eggs, soybeans, and mayonnaise can be hard to avoid, because they are part of many packaged foods. At first, you’ll have to think a lot about things like whether a Big Mac has mayonnaise (it does). You and your family will have to read the labels on packages very carefully. But you’ll soon learn what you can and cannot eat.
This diet is a pain, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s much less of a pain than smelling like rotten fish.” (original here)
More Archives from our private group
And T -for fishy, onion, garlic breath which happens after eating at times. Most kids don’t brush enough -or for the full 2 minutes they should. If you are noticing fish breath (neither of my two boys had this problem either) make sure after giving your son fish oil your son brushes his teeth -and tongue too if he can stand it. (good oral motor stimulation anyway) Actually speaking of oral motor stimulation -in our home we all use a sonicare elite toothbrush which is timed for 2 minutes -and it really works well to get the mouth clean.
And the following is VERY interesting as it’s the only cases of possible Trimethylaminuria in a mother (who is an MD) and her son in 11 years in our group!
*Trimethylaminuria is so rare that even though the mom is an MD she didn’t even suspect this as the possible cause of the fishy smell they both had
G- have you had your urine or your son’s urine tested for trimethylamine? It’s my understanding that is the only way to test for trimethylaminuria: The Fish Malodor Syndrome. From my understanding the reason for the smell in the sweat is because the body in people affected with this condition don’t have or don’t have enough of some enzyme needed to break down the trimethylamine. There are many of us on high dosages of fish oils in this group, and if you check cardiovascular or psychiatric patients -research amounts are very high as well. It’s one thing if it’s the child-as yes that can be fish oils getting to outside the body by mistake. But if you are sure you are sweating out fish oils that’s something you wouldn’t be able to say you do or don’t have this condition by symptoms as the symptom is that you excrete a fish oil smell when you sweat (as well as it can be on your breath, urine) No harm in getting a blood test just to rule it out. What I did discover in the following article is that not only is this a metabolic disorder but that it varies -so you can have more mild cases.
If anyone can get to the bottom of this I know you can!! I have not done full research into this because again I had thought it’s so rare -but according to this journal article it’s not so much rare as unknown. In other words some may be affected and not realize they suffer from this. And I believe it’s best to know so you know what foods are best to consume and which are best to avoid. I read one other article (more of a blog -so not a credible source and no references to opinions) that linked high dosage fish oils to the fish oil smell in sweat…and wonder if that author too should have her urine tested for this disorder. I read many with this disorder are NOT properly diagnosed as even most doctors are not fully aware of this “rare” disorder. (original here)
But testing the urine -that is from what I understand the only way to confirm or rule out.
What is TMAU ??
Trimethylaminuria (TMAU), also known as fish odour syndrome or fish malodour syndrome is a rare metabolic disorder where the body loses the ability to properly breakdown timethylamine (TMA) found in certain foods into timethylamine oxide (TMAO)
Trimethylamine then builds up and is released in the person’s sweat, urine, and breath, giving off a strong fishy odor.
The first step is to contact your own GP who may then refer you for a urine test. This test will help to determine if you have Trimethylaminuria. Diagnosis is also possible through gene sequencing (done via a blood test).
Our experience is that many GPs have never heard of this condition and therefore it may help to provide your GP with this website address prior to your attendance.
A quick look around the forums will reveal that it has taken many people years before they were diagnosed. Hopefully this will begin to change with increased media exposure.”
(forums and lots more at this link about the gene involved here)
Hey they thought apraxia “rare” at one point. We know rare just means either few have it or few know how to diagnose it!.
When you say the last year has been odor free -you’ve child have changed your diet this past year. Is it possible that is helping your body to break down the trimethylamine due to all the essential nutrients from whole foods?
Here is one way to serve fish oils that is super neat demonstrated by Colton!