Jennifer wants an odor eater: I’m intrigued by a product called Body Mint, which claims that it reduces body odor of all kinds (underarm, breath, foot) from the inside out using chlorophyll. Is this a scam? The Left Brain clears the air:
What is Bodymint?
As you can see from their website, Body Mint tablets “are made from an all-natural, highly specialized, derivative of chlorophyll” and their “unique formulation give it the uncommon power to reduce body odors from multiple sources, like bad breath, underarm and foot odor.” Sounds good, eh? But anything that sounds too good to be true usually is. Here’s the real scoop:
It’s the pigment that gives plants their green color. But more importantly, it allows them to use sunlight to manufacture the carbohydrates that all living things use as food. It can do this because the chemical bonds in the chlorophyll molecule can absorb visible light.
What does chlorophyll supposedly do?
According to one health food store pamphlet, chlorophyll can help cure trench mouth, tonsillitis, vaginitis, bladder diseases, high blood pressure, tooth decay, arthritis, athlete’s foot, constipation, rectal fissures and laryngitis. It also helps destroy bacteria and soothe gunshot wounds. I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that if you’re suffering from rectal fissures and gunshot wounds, a little bad breath is the LEAST of your problems!
What does chlorophyll really do?
Not much, according to Quackwatch, a scientific website that specializes in debunking false claims. Read for yourself…
Most claims that chlorophyll products can heal, kill bacteria, and remove odors are based on research performed early in the 20th century, before antibiotics were available to fight infections. Although many of these studies are considered invalid by modern scientific standards, there is evidence that chlorophyll can kill certain types of bacteria. It is not a practical choice, however, because very high concentrations are needed for any positive effect and modern antibiotics are far more effective anyway. Also, although chlorophyll kills some bacteria, it actually promotes the growth of others.
What about deodorizing properties?
Despite the sales hype, in products sold to the public, it doesn’t have any. According to John C. Kephart, who performed studies at the laboratories of The National Chlorophyll and Chemical Company about 20 years ago, “No deodorant effect can possibly occur from the quantities of chlorophyll put in products such as gum, foot powder, cough drops, etc. To be effective, large doses must be given internally” [Journal of Ecological Botany 9:3, 1955].
So, Jennifer, it looks like BodyMint is a scam. Don’t throw away your Listerine mouthwash or your Degree deodorant!
Why should you believe our brainy bashing of Body Mint?
The source of these Quackwatch quotes is an article written by Dr. Lowell who, at the time, was Professor of Life Sciences at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona and vice-president of the National Council Against Health Fraud.