Scientists might have discovered a new weapon in the battle against several diseases: flatulence.
Dr. Mark Wood and Matt Whiteman of the University of Exeter said in a press release Wednesday that hydrogen sulfide — the gas that gives rotting eggs and farts their smell — could help prevent “mitochondrial damage,” a key component of preventing stroke, heart failure, dementia and aging, among other conditions.
“Although hydrogen sulfide gas is well known as a pungent, foul-smelling gas in rotten eggs and flatulence, it is naturally produced in the body and could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases,” Wood said in the release.
When cells become stressed by disease, they generate small amounts of hydrogen sulfide to keep the mitochondria working. Without the gas, the cells die.
Wood’s team of scientists are working to develop a new compound called AP39 that emulates the gas.
“We have exploited this natural process by making a compound, called AP39, which slowly delivers very small amounts of this gas specifically to the mitochondria,” Whiteman said. “Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.”
So the next time your weird uncle stinks up the place at Thanksgiving, look at it as a vaccination of sorts.