It's Friday, and what better way to spend the day that starts with F than talking about Flatulence?
Anyone who has accidentally let one rip in a social situation understands the immediate horror associated with getting caught passing gas. But instead of being ashamed when you fart in public, you should embrace your dirty deed with pride, as you may have just helped saved someone's life. Well, that's what a study currently getting some attention might suggest, but it's more complicated than that.
The study out of the University of Exeter in the UK found that the hydrogen sulfide gas found in rotten eggs and flatulence could reduce the risk of cancer, heart attack, strokes, arthritis, and dementia.
The Exeter scientists created a compound called AP39 that slowly delivers small, concentrated amounts of the gas to mitochondria, the "powerhouses" of cells that take in nutrients, break them down, and create energy. Preventing or reversing mitochondrial damage is considered key to treating a variety of ailments.
"Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive," Professor Matt Whiteman, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said in a statement. The researchers have published their findings in the journal MedChemComm and presented them at the June International Conference on Hydrogen Sulfide in Biology and Medicine in Kyoto, Japan.
Of course, hydrogen sulfide can prove deadly in large doses, meaning that sniffing a fart or two here and there is a much better and safer idea than, say, filling your house with rotten eggs.
So the next time someone lets one go in your presence, consider loudly thanking that person and letting the stink sink in before running in the other direction. Or, since scientists have yet to confirm that smelling farts is as valuable as delivering their compounds straight to cells, at least remember to stop and appreciate that hydrogen sulfide isn't all bad.