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Farts may stink to high heaven, but a new study suggests that the gas responsible for that foul odor may actually extend a person's time on earth.
Scientists in the UK claim that hydrogen sulfide, the stinky compound that smells like rotten eggs which contributes to the flatulence stench, could have amazing health benefits.
Hydrogen sulfide can be toxic, but tiny amounts have been shown to help protect the mitochondria, which are known as the "powerhouses" of cells.
Study author Dr. Matt Whiteman of the University of Exeter explained that diseased cells draw in enzymes to create small quantities of the compound, which helps keep the mitochondria going and the cell alive.
"If this doesn't happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation," he said in a release.
The scientists said they have created a new compound known as AP36 that harnesses the power of hydrogen sulfide and can deliver it to the mitochondria.
Protecting or reversing damage to this part of the cell is a crucial part of treating many conditions, including stroke, diabetes, heart failure and dementia.
Hydrogen sulfide "could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases," study author Dr. Mark Wood said.
The team is working on advancing research to the stage where the compound can be tested in humans.
The study was published in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications.