A study carried out at the University of Exeter says that smelling farts could hold therapeutic benefits to cancer and various diseases. Cancer research scientists at the University of Exeter are suggesting that the smell of fart might actually be beneficial in terms of reducing a person’s risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses. This is because the eggy-smell of a fart is due to a substance called hydrogen sulfide, which when delivered in small doses, has potentially large health benefits. These flatulence-related benefits may include a lower risk of cancer, dementia and heart attack.
Hydrogen sulfide is produced by the bacteria in the stomach and released when food is being digested. According to Professor Matt Whiteman, from the University of Exeter Medical School, cells that are affected and have their resources depleted by disease will draw in hydrogen sulfide in order to help them continue to live. The cells will pull in very small amounts of hydrogen sulfide in times of stress, this gives them the ability to control levels of inflammation and for this reason, they stay healthier.
The team at Exeter University have developed a compound which is designed to deliver very small amounts of hydrogen sulfide to the cells that need it. The compound that they have created is called AP39, and is smells just like a fart would. Despite smelling so rotten, the scientists that are studying this compound say that it helps to protect the mitochondria of cells. This area of the cell promotes the production of energy, so preventing damage to the mitochondria is what lowers the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Dr. Mark Wood, from the biosciences department at the University of Exeter, explains that regardless of the pungent and foul fart-smell that accompanies hydrogen sulfide, it has the potential to be used in a treatment setting for a wide variety of chronic diseases. It is naturally produced within the body, and could turn into something of a healthcare hero.
The study was published in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications. The AP39 compound has been used in a follow-up study, this time in collaboration with other researchers at the University of Texas, Medical Branch. This later study, was published in the The Nitric Oxide Journal. Hydrogen sulfide was previously considered to be a toxic molecule until more recent research has proved that in small doses it has its merits.
Pre-clinical trials are looking into where this knowledge can be applied outside of the realm of cancer. Preliminary trials in the area of cardiovascular health are showing that even in highly destructive conditions, cells which are provided with the AP39 compound are surviving where they might otherwise have died. AP39 has also been shown to have beneficial heart-rate lowering abilities, which is important in the survival of people who have suffered from a heart attack.
According to Whiteman, in studies using the AP39 compound that they have concocted, results suggest that stressed cells are protected. The compound keeps the mitochondria within the cell safe. This is why cells draw hydrogen sulfide in when they are in trouble, and this is why the smell of a fart might actually be very beneficial, protecting the body against cancer and other forms of disease.