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Secret Side Effects of Eating Asparagus, Says Science

This nutritious veggie may have some downsides as well.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Asparagus is not only a vegetable that goes perfectly with baked salmon at dinner time, but it is also a delicious source of many different vitamins and nutrients that can help us maintain a balanced diet. According to a study published in the Journal of Metabolites, asparagus is made up of vitamins B, K, and E, as well as zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, and fiber. It is also low in calories, sodium, and fat, which makes it a great food to enjoy without worry.

Although asparagus is a nutritious and delectable addition to any meal, it still comes with some potential downsides when eaten on a regular basis. Read on to learn about the possible side effects of eating asparagus.

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You may smell a strong odor in your urine

jewel osco asparagus

Have you ever noticed an interesting odor coming from your urine after you've eaten asparagus? This is a fairly common occurrence, and there's scientific evidence that explains why it happens. Asparagus contains a chemical compound called asparagusic acid that isn't found anywhere else. This compound contains sulfur, and although sulfur can be found in other foods like eggs, dairy products, and certain fruits, this specific compound is unique to asparagus. According to a study found in Phytochemistry Journal, asparagusic acid is the main cause of the odor in your urine.

This may seem weird, but it gets even weirder. According to a study published in the BMJ, there is a specific genetic variation that exists in humans that allows them to smell the acid in their urine after eating asparagus. Because of this, only about 40% of people report being able to smell a strong odor after in their urine after they ate asparagus.


You may feel more bloated

grilled asparagus

Asparagus is packed full of different types of nutrients, including fiber. For each half cup of cooked asparagus, you'll get about 1.8-2 grams of fiber, which can be great for a healthy digestive tract. Asparagus even contains a unique fiber called "inulin," which is found in things like garlic, artichokes, bananas, and chicory root. When taken carefully, this type of fiber can help our gut health in incredible ways.

Unfortunately for some people, larger amounts of fiber can actually cause some discomfort like stomach bloating, cramping, and gas. According to a recent study found in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, high-fiber diets may cause more bloating and gas because of their ability to support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are helpful in that they help break down fiber through fermentation; however, this fermentation process can cause also more bloating through the production of gas.

(RELATED: The Most Common Reason You're Always Bloated)


You may interfere with your medications

Asparagus with cheese and lemon and pine nuts

If you eat asparagus on a regular basis, you may run the risk of interfering with specific blood-thinning medications. Asparagus is high in vitamin K, which is a vitamin necessary for maintaining bone strength and healthy amounts of blood clotting, according to the Journal of Food and Nutrition Research.

Because vitamin K is high in proteins that cause blood coagulation, this vitamin can sometimes interfere with certain blood-thinning medications like Warfarin. If you're on blood thinners or anticoagulants, you may want to talk with your doctor before having asparagus.


You may discover a new intolerance

Asparagus on wooden board

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common occurrence among Americans, but because it is a complex issue with many different possibilities and causes, it can often be misdiagnosed or mismanaged. One interesting symptom of IBS is fructans intolerance, which occurs in about 24% of IBS patients.

Fructans are a type of carbohydrate found in things like rye, barley, onions, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. According to a study published in Current Gastroenterology Reports, people who are intolerant to fructans may experience things like bloating, gas, and cramping. Because these are similar symptoms to gluten intolerance, people are often misdiagnosed, so it's best to connect with a registered dietitian who can help you get to the root of the issue.

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha