Scientists say some farts can help prevent cancer, strokes and dementia

The smell of flatulence could help avoid cancer, strokes, heart attacks and dementia, according to scientists at Exeter University. Hydrogen sulfide is one of the gases produced by bacteria as it breaks down food in the gut, it is toxic in large doses but in tiny amounts it helps protect cells and fight illness.

Professor Matt Whiteman from University of Exeter's medical school said:

When cells become stressed by disease, they draw in enzymes to generate minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide. This keeps the mitochondria ticking over and allows cells to live. If this doesn't happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation.

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.

Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.

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