The next time someone near you cuts the cheese, remember: They might be doing you a favor.
Certain types of cell damage lead to countless afflictions that are irritating and even potentially deadly. According to a study by researchers at the University of Exeter, published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications, hydrogen sulfide (one of the things that make farts so stinky) can help cells stay in good shape. The compound helps protect the cells by improving their mitochondria, the little subunits within them that help create their energy. The cells often make their own hydrogen sulfide when they run into trouble, but it’s often not enough to prevent them from breaking down.
Hydrogen sulfide can be found in rotting eggs…and human flatulence. And it might aid in the fights against arthritis, strokes, and aging.
The researchers have come up with an artificial compound they call AP39 that can provide cells with plenty of smelly, but apparently very healthy, hydrogen sulfide. “Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive,” Matt Whiteman, a professor who worked on the study, told the media. That’s right: scientists have created artificial farts.
Whiteman and his colleagues are still experimenting in their lab. So far, they’ve only used AP39 on cell samples. Nevertheless, they hope to test the compound on human candidates sometime soon. Any volunteers?
However, before you run around farting on your loved ones, keep in mind that inhaling your “natural gas” may not do them much good—evidently the compound has to be applied directly to damaged cells via treatments like AP39.