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Hello ladies. Look at me. Now look at your man. Now smell him. Is his immune system healthy? Is yours?

Posted Jul 29 2010 8:29am

The Old Spice guy in a towel is my favorite TV ad and the fav of about 50 million others, too.  Smelling like a man (and old spiceturning tickets into diamonds) is now top of mind for many U.S. males…and females.

A little info digging on my part came up with some interesting theories–even a little research–on how and why we give off our natural scent, before the Old Spice is applied. Seems the immune system and its state of health might play a role.

One report –which sounds pretty legit on the surface but doesn’t cite any real sources–says a poorly functioning, even overactive, immune system interacting with the bacteria it’s fighting may cause body odor.

Another article says immune system genetics create a scent that is noticed by women much more so than men. The more divergent a man’s immune genetics are from a woman’s, the more attracted she may be to him. That’s nature’s way of fortifying offspring with the most robust, diverse and adaptive immune system possible.  Hmmmm. I don’t know, especially when “sniff tests” of shirts were used to gather data. But, crazier things have happened.  Another piece also cites the immune sniff theory as well, plus gets into everything from ovulation to foods to ethnicity as contributors to body scents.

I also just read a theory that in cultures where people don’t shower every day–and hence probably have a stronger odor than us American hygiene freaks–healthier, more balanced immune systems and overall better health may prevail. Those people are not washing away bacteria every day, and therefore are giving their immune systems fuel to exercise themselves and build up better function and performance. Kind of dovetails on the hygiene hypothesis .

So hey, Old Spice guy, keep up the good work. God knows between garlic, bacteria, immune cell genes, gender-based olfactory sensitivity, we’ll need your help.

Now look at me. Now look away.

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