Can mouldy food cause hallucinations

It’s probably no surprise that rotting food gives us the heebie-jeebies. After all, the thought of decaying produce gives us the willies. But what exactly causes our brains to hallucinate when we smell or come into contact with mouldy food? Well, it might not be as weird as you think. In fact, some experts believe we experience hallucinations from smelling or coming into contact with mouldy food for one very specific reason: It can cause body odour. Yep, your body produces bacteria every time you sweat, which is why wearing clean clothes after you’ve been out in the heat helps keep you odour-free and smelling fresh. So how does this relate to images of skeletal hands appearing on toast? Well, research published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy suggests that people who have a heightened sensitivity to smells may be more likely to experience hallucinations from smelling things like rotten bread and sweaty gym clothes than other people are. So if you’re one of those people who get a little creeped out by old gym socks or a slightly rancid smell emanating from your kitchen cabinet; maybe it’s time to stock up on some new possessions!

Why Can Stale Food Cause Hallucinations?

The main cause of stale food causing hallucinations is the smell itself. Once food is out of the fresh produce section, it starts to break down, meaning it starts to smell a little worse, and a little worse, and a little worse – until it reaches a point where it’s so bad that it can literally makes our brains hallucinate.

The thing is, when food starts to rot, it releases a variety of compounds that can affect the way our brains process sensory information. These compounds include ammonia and trimethylamine (a type of amino acid), which are thought to be the reasons why rotting food gives us the giggles. Ammonia is a compound commonly found in your body and is present in your saliva as well as in your urine. It’s actually a part of your body’s own natural antiperspirant, which is why it doesn’t bother you when you sweat. But it can be a problem when it’s combined with trimethylamine, which is what causes the rotten-breath, sweat-stinks, and creepy-crankies side effects of mouldy food. So, let’s put this all together. Foods that contain a lot of yeast and bacteria can cause your body to release a compound called trimethylamine, which your nose then smells and causes you to think there’s a rotting corpse in the vicinity. This is why stale bread, gym socks, and other items that have gone bad are so creepy.

Body odour and Hallucinations

Now, it’s important to note that while your body odour may be a common cause of hallucinations, this is likely to be the result of other factors, like stress or feeling overwhelmed. In other words, your body odour may not be the cause of your hallucinations, but it may be a contributing factor. So, why is this important? Well, if your body odour is causing your hallucinations, that means you could probably control the experience by controlling your body odour — which, let’s be honest, is always a plus.

Sweating and Hallucinations

Studies have found that some people are more likely to experience hallucinations than others, and scientists think it might have something to do with how sensitive your nose is. If you have a heightened sense of smell, you’re more likely to experience the side effects of mouldy food. While some people are more sensitive than others, studies suggest that about 6% of people are super-smelly and are more likely to experience hallucinations from smelling things like rotting food.

There are a couple of ways we can reduce our body odour, though. Obviously, we should try to keep our hands out of our armpits as much as possible, but scrubbing your armpits with a loofah or using deodourant is always a good way to reduce body odour.

Could mould Be to Blame?

Now that we’ve covered why you might be having hallucinations while smelling or coming into contact with mouldy food, let’s take a look at the next possible explanation for these strange occurrences: Did you know that mould is actually a pretty important part of your diet? Yep, researchers have found that certain types of bacteria and fungi can actually help your body break down carbs and proteins and make essential vitamins. So if you’ve been experiencing a little bit of mouldy-breath, it could be because you’ve been accidentally eating a bunch of healthy bacteria and fungi.

Not all rotting food is caused by bacteria, but it’s definitely one of the most common causes of food-related hallucinations. The reason we hallucinate from rotten food is likely the same reason we hallucinate from mouldy food – it can cause body odour. How exactly is this food-mould connection related? Well, body odour is caused by bacteria that live on our skin, and these same bacteria can create a fungus called manganese mould. When food starts to rot, it creates the perfect environment for these bacteria and mould to thrive. So basically, the food is creating the bacteria that create the stinky smell, which is then causing your brain to hallucinate. mould can be found in a number of places in your home, but the worst place to find it is in your fridge. mould loves the food that’s been growing in your fridge, so it’s likely that mouldy food in your fridge is to blame for the stinky food you’re eating. If you find yourself hallucinating from the smell of rotten food, it might be a good idea to throw away all the mouldy food in your fridge so you can start fresh.


As you can see, there are a number of factors that could be causing your hallucinations. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to know what the cause of your hallucinations is until you figure it out. But if you’ve experienced any of the above, you may want to try the following:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
  • Make sure you’re not experiencing excessive stress or trauma
  • Make sure your diet is balanced and healthy
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough water
  • Make sure you’re not smelling excessive amounts of bleach or chemicals
  • Make sure you’re not coming into contact with excessive amounts of mould.