Yes, you read that right! Those smelly, often loud and abrupt noises that come out of your rear (sorry for the detail) have been the focus of some interesting research studies of late. Despite these not being studies that I’d particularly like to take part in, I am interested in their findings, check this out…
You know that nasty ‘egg like’ smell associated with farting, well it seems that the gas behind this smell, called Hydrogen sulphide, could hold the key to treating cancer. So what’s the deal then, do Doctors and Oncologists plan on scaring cancer away with the terrible smell? No, instead these medical experts have found a possible link between Hydrogen sulphide and preserving the function of the healthy cells. A group of researchers from the University of Exeter have created a molecule known as AP39, this molecule is able to deliver Hydrogen sulphide to mitochondria (the energy warehouses in the body) inside the body, and from here it MAY, and I emphasise MAY, be able to fight disease. If your mitochondria become damaged, then energy production and the inflammation response within the body is hindered, and this can ultimately lead to cell death. It is thought that protecting the integrity of mitochondria may reduce the severity and spread of disease.
A natural response from the body…
Hydrogen sulphide is a naturally occurring molecule within the body, it is released naturally from cells via an enzyme in order to keep your mitochondria functioning during times of stress. This natural process was the inspiration behind the formulation of the AP39 molecule, it is thought that the AP39 molecule may deliver small amounts of Hydrogen sulphide to the affected areas, in turn reducing stress on mitochondria and protecting cells.
So is it good to smell farts?
No… they stink for a start, but researchers assert that it would also be futile to breath in Hydrogen sulphide for the purpose of fighting cancer! It is not the Hydrogen sulphide molecules themselves that fight disease, it’s the enzymes released as a result of damage that helps Hydrogen sulphide preserve cell structure and function. The only benefit to be had from sniffing a fart is that it’ll wake you up rather abruptly should you be having a mid- afternoon slump!
However, utilising the key molecules in a fart is proving to be a little more beneficial. Here’s hoping this new finding is harnessed and put to good use in the future, now for the researchers to look into eradicating the stench that is caused from farting (we can dream)!
University of Exeter, (2014). Rotten egg gas holds key to healthcare therapies. Retrieved 28th January, 2015, from http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_393168_en.html