Long time readers of the Beauty Brains may be familiar with a post we wrote back in 2007 about “Why Body Mint is a Disappoint-mint.“ Based on references that we had seen at the time, we wrote that the product would not reduce all body odors as suggested by the product’s claims.
Body Mint revisited
Wow! That post unleashed a crap-storm of comments (almost 90 at last count.) You can click the link above to read all of them, but suffice it to say that discussion got a bit…ugly…at times. Regardless, based on these comments we took another look and found that indeed, as many of the readers said, Chlorophyllin (not chlorophyll) is the active ingredient in Body Mint and it does have some proven odor fighting properties. Specifically, the evidence shows that products like Body Mint can be used as an “internal deodorant” to help colostomy patients. We were remiss in not citing the research on fecal odor in our original post. We also should have been more specific that the active ingredient is not chlorophyll as we stated but a copper-containing derivative known as Chlorophyllin.
However, we still are unable to find any studies which suggest that Body Mint works on other kinds of body odor (like underarm stink or bad breath, as mentioned in the original question.) The mode of action on fecal odor reduction (the chlorophyll complex reacting with fecal material inside the colon) seems plausible. The same mode of action doesn’t seem to make sense for underarm odor where the “scent” is caused by the action of bacteria on sweat gland secretions. For Body Mint to get rid of body odor it would have to have some kind of antibacterial effect on the surface of the skin. We haven’t seen ANYTHING to suggest it works that way but again, we’d be glad to update this post if anyone can direct us to such studies. In the meantime, we remain skeptical of these claims.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
We’ll try to be more careful in future posts and we really appreciate when our readers point out where we have presented misinformation. We’re not perfect and we are always willing to reconsider our position based on new data. That’s what science is all about!
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Siegel LH. The control of ileostomy and colostomy odors. Gastroenterology. 1960;38:634-636. (PubMed)
Weingarten M, Payson B. Deodorization of colostomies with chlorophyll. Rev Gastroenterol. 1951;18(8):602-604.
Christiansen SB, Byel SR, Stromsted H, Stenderup JK, Eickhoff JH. [Can chlorophyll reduce fecal odor in colostomy patients?]. Ugeskr Laeger. 1989;151(27):1753-1754. (PubMed)
Young RW, Beregi JS, Jr. Use of chlorophyllin in the care of geriatric patients. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1980;28(1):46-47. (PubMed)
Yamazaki H, Fujieda M, Togashi M, et al. Effects of the dietary supplements, activated charcoal and copper chlorophyllin, on urinary excretion of trimethylamine in Japanese trimethylaminuria patients. Life Sci. 2004;74(22):2739-2747. (PubMed)
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