does chopping an onion make you cry? Unstable
chemicals. Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes\’ lachrymal glands so they release tears. Scientists used to blame the enzyme allinase
for the instability of substances in
a cut onion. Recent studies from
proved that lachrymatory-factor synthase, (a previously undiscovered
enzyme) is the culprit (Imani et al, 2002). Lachrymatory-factor synthase is released into the air when we
cut an onion. The synthase enzyme converts the amino acids sulfoxides of
the onion into sulfenic acid. The unstable sulfenic acid rearranges itself into syn-ropanethial-S-oxide. Syn-propanethial-S-oxide gets into the air and comes in contact
with our eyes. The lachrymal glands become irritated and produces
more print resources. onion,
lachrymal gland and crying or tears
in the. In every movie about food, thereБs a scene in which the main characterБusually an aspiring chefБends up bawling their eyes out while cutting onions. Anyone with an iota of can relate. First the stinging, then the tearsБevery single time. Except for maybe a rare few, cutting onions always leads to some kind of cryingБwatery eyes at best, full-on tears streaming down your face like you just watched a Nicholas Sparks movie at worst. But whatБs the science behind it? Are we simply doomed to a life of painful onion encounters, or is there a way to avoid this all-too-common scenario? Turns out, there are a handful of steps you can take to reduce the tears. SELF spoke to James Chelnis, M. D. , assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, about why the sensation happens in the first place, and what you can do to ensure it stops.
When you chop onions, they release a chemical compound that irritates your eyes and triggers your tear glands. Onions get their distinctive, pungent flavor from sulfurБthe same chemical behind rotten eggsБ stinky smell. But itБs not just the sulfur thatБs making you cry. Onions also contain an enzyme called synthase. When you cut into an onion, the synthase reacts with the sulfur to create a chemical compound called syn-Propanethial S-oxide. This compound is volatile and creates a gas that floats up to your eyes and triggers your lachrymal glandБthe gland that produces tears. And thatБs when the water works start flowing. As science-y and scary as that sounds, Dr.
Chelnis says that thereБs no real danger behind the compound. БItБs just an irritant,Б he explains. You could be in a room full of people chopping onions and the worst thing that will happen to you is that you tear a lot. So as painful as cutting onions may be, youБre never going to go blind. Not everyone will react to the chemical with the same level of intensity. Ever wonder why your friend can come away from a pile of onions mostly unscathed while youБre reduced to a puddle of tears? No, you arenБt just being extra dramatic. Dr. Chelnis explains that some people have naturally more sensitive lachrymal glands than others. Unfortunately, thereБs no way to know ahead of time if youБre extra sensitive or not, and there isnБt much you can do to change it.
But there are a few hacks you can use to alleviate the pain. Try one of these three easy tricks to ward off the weeps. When an onion is cold, it doesnБt release that chemical compound as easily as it would if it were warm, says Dr. Chelnis. The next time you need to cut an onion, chill it for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. Better yet, start Бthat way you donБt even have to factor in chill time before you get cooking. Dr. Chelnis also recommends facing a fan toward your chopping station. This will blow the gas away before it has a chance to irritate your eyes. If youБre really really sensitive to onions, and none of these tricks are, well, doing the trick, try wearing goggles. You may look a little intense, but at least you wonБt be crying. You may also like: This 200-Calorie Lentil Chili Is Actually so Delicious