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Estibaliz Urarte
Communications Manager

A fragrance helps neutralise the smell caused by fish odour syndrome

Flores y fragancias
Beatriz Mínguez, from the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Service of Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children's Hospital, asked a perfume expert and friend for help in finding a way to neutralise the odour caused by this rare disease. They have developed several cosmetic products that effectively address the problem, and now they would like to test them in more patients.

As unusual as it may seem, the collaboration between a paediatric hospital and a multinational perfume company can bear very good results. Paediatrician Beatriz Mínguez was covering a sick leave for a colleague a year ago in Sant Joan de Déu when she visited two patients who suffered from fish odor syndrome, a disorder caused either by a carnitine deficiency or by a mutation that prevents the organism from metabolising certain nitrogenous compounds, such as trimethylamine.

The main problem in fish odour syndrome is the characteristic smell given off by the affected people through sweat, urine or breath. There is no treatment for this syndrome beyond limiting the intake of some foods such as fish, eggs or offals, but there are cases in which even this dietary restriction does not mitigate the smell. This can greatly affect the patients' mental health, as it greatly restricts their social interactions.

Dr. Mínguez decided to find a solution to this problem and called a friend who works at Eurofragance, a multinational perfume company with years of experience in the sector. After some work, they created a new fragrance that blocks the fish odour in these patients. They observed that the citrus notes added to the perfume reached the olfactory receptors before the fish smell did, and they performed tests with several patients and volunteers, with very good results. As a result of this collaboration, they developed a body lotion, an 'eau de toilette' and a body serum, products that can be applied as many times as necessary and in a simple way. 

Searching for volunteers

Dr. Mínguez is still looking for volunteers to test the effectiveness of the products in order to expand the study. If you are interested, you can contact her by e-mail at


Disease management