Taking off your shoes in public can be quite scary, especially if you always have a case of smelly feet. While it is annoyingly normal to have unusual odours coming from different nooks and crannies of your body, it is also frowned upon to be that...fragrant.
Smelly feet are healthy feet
But worry not! Even if you do have feet that smell rather pungent, a doctor has said that it could be a sign of good health.
Dr. Karan Raj, a NHS doctor who is also a popular TikToker with 3.9 million followers, recently let us in on why feet smell and how it could save your life. He explained that we have a species of bacteria, called bacillus subtilis, in our feet that eats an amino acid called leucine that is found in foot sweat. Similar to humans that fart out gas build up in the body, bacillus subtilis also farts isoflavic acid when it eats leucine. That is what causes the smell that Raj describes as ‘cheesy, stinky, foot smell.’
The very fact that you have this smell means that you have active bacillus subtilis—and why is that important? Dr. Raj continues:
Our bodies are keeping around this bacteria because it produces chemicals and antibiotics that keep away foot fungus.
What is foot fungus?
According to WebMD, there are more than 80 different kinds of fungi living on your feet, and most of them are completely harmless.
The two most common kinds of fungal infections people deal with are tinea pedis, aka athlete’s foot, and onychomycosis, which is a fungal infection on the nail. Both can be easily treated with at-home remedies and antifungal creams, but if left untreated, the infections can become more severe.
Athlete’s foot can spread to other parts of the body, including the groin, hands, and nails. Whereas onychomycosis can spread to other nails in the hands and toes. If the condition gets worse, doctors may opt to surgically or chemically remove the infected nails.