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phantosmia (phantom smell)
noosagranny
ID#: 142417
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:22:04 PM on 14-04-2009
I have had phantom smoke smell symptom for about a month...not sure when it began. Trying to research this I find phantosmia is in fact very common, and smoke smell in particular. Doesn't seem to be much doctors know about it. However I did find a French web site in which the person links his to soy consumption...he trialled stopping it, the smell and other olfactory symptoms went away, then resumed when he consumed soy again. He repeated this several times.

So wondering if any readers on this forum, all of whom are probably using soy have this odd symptom? I started using soy when I began my vegan journey just 3 months ago.
Indigenous
ID#: 142419
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10:37:19 PM on 14-04-2009
I've been using Soy for almost three years now and haven't experienced any symptoms but do when I on the odd occasion use cows milk or cream which definitely smells off.
noosagranny
ID#: 142422
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:46:13 PM on 14-04-2009
Phantom smell means you smell something that isn't there, spontaneously and anywhere, i.e. not in reaction to anything. It is an olfactory hallucination and it is very common. I was interested in finding out if anyone else had this. I thought I was perhaps unusual with this only to find a friend has had it as well (she's not vegan) and today researching the internet I found that heaps of people have it...and this one person saying his is due to eating soy, and soy lecithin. So I thought I'd ask here as so many people here would eat soy.
Dark Horse
Moderator

ID#: 142423
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:53:10 PM on 14-04-2009
No, noosagranny, afraid I haven't, but have heard of people who smell burning before an attack of epilepsy.

I can usually smell rain long before it appears, but realise that is not what you are talking about.
noosagranny
ID#: 142426
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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11:16:01 PM on 14-04-2009
Yes, epilepsy is one. But there are lots and lots of people like me who just get it for no apparent reason.

So if there are any vego's who use soy who read this forum who have this too, please speak up!
ZanyZebra
ID#: 142430
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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6:34:35 AM on 15-04-2009
Veg*ns get sick too , they are not super human. Consider looking for causes outside of your diet.

Sometimes the constant bombardment about how unnatural the veg*n diet is from the Western mass media gets to us subconsciously.
noosagranny
ID#: 142432
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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7:14:22 AM on 15-04-2009
ZZ, I of course explored physical causes first...could be nasal polyps/allergy/epilepsy/brain tumour (unlikely). I was amazed, when searching via Google at the numbers of people writing in to q&a sites reporting this identical symptom all of whom had explored various medical roads to no avail.

The only change to my WOL has been to my diet, so that was next to explore, when I happened on to a web site of a French man who had become convinced that his anosmia (his principle symptom along with some parosmia and phantosmia) was due to soy...as he said he trialled going off and on soy a number of times and proved it to himself. However, I don't believe one anecdote and so was looking to see if any folks who take a lot of soy also had this.

There is a Yahoo support group for this symptom which I have just now joined and have put the question there. I certainly hope he is wrong as I rely on soy to a degree, although I could of course do without it.
ZanyZebra
ID#: 142433
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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7:18:40 AM on 15-04-2009
We probablly do eat too much soy, a diet should be more balanced.
The sense of smell accounts for a very large part of the brain.
When a surgeon is prodding around in an awake brain druing surgery, sensations of smell are reported by the patient the most.
cerberus
ID#: 142446
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:16:11 AM on 15-04-2009
Olfactory hallucinations can also be associated with schizophrenia. Not that I am saying you are schizophrenic noosagranny! But just thought I'd mention it in case others who might read this think that olfactory hallucinations are caused by diet only.

I guess it's possible that as we get older, and our brains naturally deteriorate over time, that neurons may cross messages in the brain also, like what ZZ said about open brain surgery.

"Phantosmia is the phenomenon of smelling odors that aren't really present. The most common odors are unpleasant smells such as rotting flesh, vomit, urine, feces, smoke, etc. Phantosmia often results from damage to the nervous tissue in the olfactory system. The damage can be caused by viral infection, brain tumor, trauma, surgery, and possibly exposure to toxins or drugs.[8] Phantosmia can also be induced by epilepsy affecting the olfactory cortex and is also thought to possibly have psychiatric origins."

Fascinating, that's for sure... glad you don't get one of the more unpleasant ones!
noosagranny
ID#: 142447
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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10:29:47 AM on 15-04-2009
Well when reading the many others' accounts of their own, the smell of smoke tops the list...for some it is severe enough to make their eyes water.

I am going to Melbourne on Sunday and may have a soy free week there plus another when I return, just to see if it helps, or not.

Cerb, no I don't have schizophrenia...and it is extremely rare to get it at this age anyway..it is a young person's disorder for the most part. I think the crossed-wires with aging theory makes more sense.
Dark Horse
Moderator

ID#: 142456
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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12:20:12 PM on 15-04-2009
Now you may just get to smell real smoke in Melbourne - if it's cold enough to light their fires or smell the ash from all the burnt out areas.  Sorry noosagranny - didn't mean to confuse the issue! ;o)
noosagranny
ID#: 142457
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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1:28:59 PM on 15-04-2009
DH...I guess that means that in Melbourne at least the smell will be real!
Dark Horse
Moderator

ID#: 142462
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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2:44:38 PM on 15-04-2009
Yup!
Indigenous
ID#: 142468
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4:29:24 PM on 15-04-2009
Way back when I was a smoker I went to sleep with a smoke in my hand and woke up with a synthetic jacket on fire or at least smoking.
That smell stuck with me for ages especially when lighting a smoke but cooking etc seemed to trigger it.
noosagranny
ID#: 142472
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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5:28:51 PM on 15-04-2009
I am reminded of a true story. One night a young man drives his motorcycle up to the shops in Port Douglas to buy a pack of smokes..he doesn't make it and is badly mangled in an accident. When the ambos arrive he comes conscious for a minute, apprises the situation and says "Well there you go, I knew I should have quit smoking."

Yes, he survived, minus a leg.
Dark Horse
Moderator

ID#: 142499
Vegetarian and Vegan Society of Queensland member
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11:06:35 PM on 15-04-2009
That's one helluva way to quit smoking.  I could have told him an easier way!!

You obviously had a shirt on under the jacket then, Indigenous - otherwise you'd probably still be picking little bits of frizzed jacket out of your skin!
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