Scientists have revealed that the smell of flatulence has health benefits which could avoid dementia, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
Hydrogen sulphide is one of many potent gases which are produced by bacteria as food is broken down in the gut. According to scientists based at Exeter University, it may be toxic in large doses, but in small amounts it aids in protecting cells and fighting illness.
According to the University of Exeter medical school’s Professor Matt Whiteman, when body cells become stressed due to disease, it tries to pull in enzymes in a bid to produce tiny amounts of hydrogen sulphide. The chemical aids in the preservation of mitochondria, which boosts energy production in the cells of blood vessels and regulates inflammation. Without this the cell could turn off and die.
Researchers have produced a new compound named AP39 which will help the body produce the correct amount of hydrogen sulphide that it needs. They believe that it will reverse or prevent mitochondrial damage which is one of the methods of treating illnesses such as aging, dementia, arthritis, diabetes, heart failure and stroke.
Professor Whiteman said that their results indicated that if the stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and the cells remain alive.
Prior to testing this method on humans, researchers will have to use disease models to determine the effectiveness of AP39.
The early results that have been achieved indicate that it is able to aid in the survival of 80% mitochondria in illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease.
Dr Mark Wood, a fellow researcher, said that although hydrogen sulphide is known as a foul-smelling, pungent gas in flatulence and rotten eggs, it is produced naturally in the body and may in fact be a healthcare hero which offers significant advantages for future treatments for a range of illnesses.
Image Credit: Brian Fitzgerald