When you catch a whiff of a fart, your first instinct is probably to duck for cover. But scientists say you should gladly inhale those horrific butt fumes—that’s because they contain a secret compound that fights deadly diseases.
It turns out that small doses of hydrogen sulfide (the stuff that makes your farts smell like rotten eggs) can do everything from fight cancer to prevent heart attacks.
You’ve been taught that the worst farts are silent but deadly. Ironically though, that stench could save your life. So, how much flatulence do you have to inhale to reap the benefits? We’re glad you asked.
Let’s unpack the stinky science behind the benefits of smelling farts.
What Are the Benefits of Smelling Farts?
Being subjected to the stench of a random dude’s flatulence might smell awful. However, research suggests that sniffing farts could reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and more.
For that, you can thank hydrogen sulfide: a colorless gas that gives farts their notorious rotten egg stench. When you get sick, your cells generate their own hydrogen sulfide which gives your mitochondria a boost to fight infections and control inflammation.
In 2014, researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Texas teamed up to study how artificial hydrogen sulfide could help people fend off diseases.
“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,” explains Professor Matt Whiteman of the University of Exeter Medical School.
The study, published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications, concluded that hydrogen sulfide shows promising results as a pharmacological tool.
There’s no guarantee that inhaling the occasional fart from your crop-dusting coworker will turn you into a superhuman. That said, treating cells with minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide could reverse mitochondrial damage and treat a variety of diseases.
"Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive," said Whiteman.
Wait, Isn’t Hydrogen Sulfide Toxic?
Hydrogen sulfide is deadly in large doses, but passing gas won’t produce nearly enough to hurt you—even if you inhaled it straight from the source. But if you hotbox a room with millions of farts, that could produce enough toxic fumes to knock you out.
Hydrogen sulfide is also highly flammable, which means your farts are flammable too. The combination of oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide can turn your ass into a blowtorch.
Farts are smelly and flammable, but contrary to popular belief it’s almost impossible for them to cause pink eye.
Don’t Flee From the Fumes
Next time a dude crop dusts the office or fumigates the gym with his flatulence, don’t reprimand him. Instead, embrace that stench—it might be the healthiest thing you do all day.
“Although hydrogen sulfide 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,” explains Dr. Mark Wood.
Start sniffing, DUDES.