Time magazine reported this past week that one of the contents of flatulance — namely hydrogen sulfide gas — has the potential to preserve the body’s mitochondria, and as a result, it can help stave off cancer and other deadly diseases.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is a well-known smell that comes from a variety of sources, and it is perhaps best described as the smell that comes from rotten eggs. It is not exactly pleasant, but Time cites research from the University of Exeter which validates this proposal. It describes the benefits of the gas as follows:
Although the stinky gas can be noxious in large doses, the researchers seem to think that a whiff here and there has the power to reduce risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, and dementia by preserving mitochondria. Researchers are even coming up with their own compound to emulate the stinky smell’s health benefits.
The issue was originally covered by the Western Daily Press which goes into more depth about the actual relationship between mitochondria and the hydrogen sulfide gas. The naturally-produced gas, the Press says, is toxic to humans in large doses, but in minute amounts it can help preserve mitochondria in times of stress.
When mitochondria become stressed, the UoE researchers state, “they draw in enzymes to generate minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide.
“This keeps the mitochondria ticking over and allows cells to live,” the researchers continue. “If this doesn’t happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation.”
The researchers say they have created an artificial compound named AP39 which releases small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas into mitochondria. At the very least, this could keep people from needing to go around smelling farts or rotten eggs to get a fix of life-saving chemicals.
The compound has yet to be tested on humans, and the Press report was not clear about any stage of testing the compound may currently be going through. It only indicated that early test results showed it helping up to 80 percent of the mitochondria survive “highly destructive conditions.”
Time says readers should thank that guy in the elevator. I might just wait for the compound.
Image courtesy of MKFI via Wikimedia Commons