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Smelly Feet

Natural Remidies for Smelly Feet

Question

I would love some advice on my 20-year-old son’s feet. They smell so bad that his socks can’t be left in the laundry basket-they have to be put in a separate bag. Even his bed sheets stinks his shoes can make a whole room pong. The rest of his body odour seems normal.

Answer

I suspect that the smell could be due to the composition of the sweat on his feet. Your son's perspiration might be reacting with the fabric of his shoes and socks to create the awful smell. There could be bacterial or fungal growth on the feet - or possibly in the shoes - producing the unusually strong smell. If it were the sweat it self the rest of his body would have the same scent.

In general, people who don't change their socks or wash their feet regularly have smelly feet. The main cause is that the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet have a layer of spongy, highly keratinised skin (keratin is the fibrous protein found in nails and skin), which is very absorbent. So any gas or chemical produced by the reaction of shoes and socks against feet is absorbed by the soles, which will then retain the smell. Think what happens to your hands if you have been cutting onions or eating tandoori chicken with your fingers - the odour lingers for a long time.

The soles and palms have numerous sweat glands, and these merocrine glands open directly on the surface of the skin. The sweat they produce is made up of about ten per cent electrolytes and water-soluble toxins and 90 per cent water. The smell is mostly due to the toxins they eliminate, which, as I have said, are probably reacting with the chemicals in your son's shoes and socks.

The perspiration process is designed to cool the body through evaporation. It is triggered by external heat, raised body temperature and chemicals ingested from certain foods (eg, meat and spices, such as chilli), drinks (coffee and alcohol) and other substances( eg, tobacco and some supplements). Nervousness and fear or an abnormality in the involuntary (parasympathetic) .Nervous system can also trigger sweating. In contrast with the merocrine glands, the sweat glands found in the armpit, groin and nipple areas open into hair follicles and their sticky secretions are very odorous.

In your son's case, the smell is localised to his feet, so my suggestions are focused on this area and his diet:

    General Hygiene

  • Bathe the whole body twice a day using neem soap - this natural product has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Strong carbolic acid soaps are useful, too (available from your chemist).
  • At bedtimes, soak feet in salty water (three tablespoonfuls to a bucket), with a few drops of Dettol, Savlon or tea-tree oil added to it. Dry thoroughly and massage neem oil into the feet, making sure you apply it between the toes.
  • Wear detoxifying foot pads overnight (Detox pads, from Optimum Health Plus, tel:0845 603 l264). In the morning, you will see a brown goo on the pads, which is the expelled toxins.
  • Keep toenails short. Sprinkle talcum powder or tea-tree powder in shoes. Change socks twice a day, if possible.
  • Diet and Supplements

  • Take an infusion of kadu Top Op Foods: soak three kadu twigs in a cup of boiled water overnight, strain and drink first thing in the morning for three months.
  • Avoid red meat, game and fish that is not very fresh (check the gills for freshness: they should be red in colour). Also avoid shellfish, sardines, anchovies, cured meats, garlic, canned products, excess sugar, coffee and alcohol.
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