Dear dr Armpit, I have become interested in probiotic products like “mother dirt”, which use ammonia oxidizing bacteria against undesired body odor. However, a product like this is much to expensive for me to use on a daily basis. Since these bacteria are available in soil in large numbers, I am considering a self-experiment. I would collect a small amount of healthy forest soil and feed it with ammonia and possibly nitrite. After a week or so, I would flush the soil with water and spray the water onto my armpits daily for a set time, evaluating the effects myself. During the experiment, I would not use any soap or deodorant. I would like to ask you if you see any specific risks to my approach. I understand that any other guidance on a self-experiment is a touchy thing to ask from a doctor, but any pointers would be appreciated. Thank you. PS I find the captcha test on this site almost impossible.
Hi, well that is an interesting experiment! Let me know how it went! I wouldn’t try it myself for the following reasons: – soil bacteria do not naturally occur on human skin and will therefore not have a long lasting effect. – the ammonia oxidizing bacteria also do not naturally occur on healthy human skin and are not expected to have an effect. The last part of your experiment does make sense and might actually have an effect: the part about you not using any soap or deodorant for a while. This will enable your underarm microbiome to come to an equilibrium. At first it might not smell good, but after a while, this could actually help in restoring the “good” bacteria in your underarm. Best, Chris
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