The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications, examined the impact of hydrogen sulfide gas, which humans produce in small amounts during digestion, on cells’ mitochondria. The gas is noxious in large doses, but scientists found that cellular exposure to smaller amounts of the compound may prevent mitochondrial damage.
This could have future implications in the prevention of strokes, arthritis, heart disease, among other things,
the researchers say.
Watch Dr. Mike tell speak about flatulence:
When disease stresses the body’s cells, the cells draw in enzymes to generate “minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide” that protects mitochondria, the scientists say. “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,” University of Exeter Professor Matt Whiteman said in a statement. “Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.”
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The experiment is limited to a lab, but the University of Exeter researchers say they are “working toward advancing the research to a stage where it can be tested in humans.” Dr. Mark Wood, one of the Exeter researchers, called it a “healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases,” in the university press release.
This research is preliminary and while no conclusions can be made, next time someone farts near you, instead of giving them “the look,” maybe you should thank them. Yeah right, “the look” smells better.