Editor’s Note: This post was updated on May 3, 2019, after the original article published on April 22, 2019, contained misleading information. The original article stated the study, “Rotten Egg Gas Hold Key to Healthcare Therapies” found that smelling your husband’s farts could help you live longer. After contacting the co-author of the study, Professor Matt Whitman from the University of Exeter, we were informed that the conflated information was not true, stating their findings showed no health benefit from inhaling flatulence or any effects on cancer. As always, here at Rare, we are committed to accurate reporting and always want to be transparent with our readers by providing the correct information.
The internet has done it again. Apparently, there is a “study” from 2014 going around telling the internet that your husbands worst habit, which is farting, duh, may actually increase your lifespan. Yes, according to several online publications, his stinky and gross farts are boosting your immune system and have good health benefits. We even reported on that study incorrectly, as stated above in our note.
Well, after looking closely at the aforementioned study, and trying to see if farts actually prevent you from having cancer, sorry to say, but this is completely false. So stop farting everywhere, because it won’t give you any benefits. I mean sure, it’ll give you some gas relief, but that’s about it.
So where did this whole farting idea come from? Well, there was a study conducted by the University of Exeter Scientist in the United Kingdom, called “Rotten Egg Gas Holds Key to Health Care Therapies.” The studies description read “It may smell of flatulence and have a reputation for being highly toxic, but when used in the right tiny dosage, hydrogen sulfide is now being found to offer potential health benefits in a range of issues, from diabetes to stroke, heart attacks and dementia.” So, our guess here is that people put two and two together, and though, “rotten eggs, yeah like farts.”
But, the actual findings, which were published in the Medicinal Chemistry Communications, were actually not about smelling farts or preventing particular disease at all. Instead, it shows how the development of a compound, called AP39, that in a laboratory experiment delivered a small amount of hydrogen sulfide to mitochondria, an organelle that is the powerhouse of cells. When stressed by diseases, mitochondria use minute quantities of hydrogen sulfite to keep working.
If this doesn’t happen then the cells die and can lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation. As co-author Professor Matt Whitman noted, the results indicate that “ if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.”
So how did we get to the whole husband and farting situation? Well, Dr. Mark Wood, co-author of the study, also noted that although hydrogen sulfide is well known as a pungent foul smelling gas, such as rotten eggs and flatulence, it is naturally produced in the body and could be a “healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases.” So, yeah, it’s easy to see why people could get confused by saying that farts are the “health care heroes” of the world.
But unfortunately, as much as we want the fart and health benefit combo to be true, it has nothing to do with any farts, cancer, or sniffing whatsoever. So much so that even their press release stresses it.
“In light of misleading headlines on the above press release, the authors would like to stress that neither the paper’s abstract, nor the accompanying press release above make any reference at all to cancer or to any health benefits from inhaling (sniffing) hydrogen sulfide. The research is an early stage drug development project and has not yet been trialed in humans.”
So, there we have it, folks. Farts do not help us live longer, you have fooled us all Internet. They just exist to give us relief after eating that yummy burrito.