The Benefits of Smelling Farts (Is This a Bad Joke?)

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


Can smelling farts benefit your health?No, really. You may think that you just misread the title, but this is not a joke. Smelling farts, or the medical term of “flatulence”, has actually been proven to have some major health benefits, including saving your life! Yes, you read that correctly.

You no longer have to hold your breath or run and hide when you smell something horribly sulfuric in your vicinity. You can relax, and know that although the smell is almost unbearable and pretty gross, you are increasing your health and longevity while deeply inhaling.

Researchers from Exeter University in the United Kingdom have found evidence that smelling farts has been linked to warding off diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Most importantly, it is connected to controlling inflammation, which is ultimately the culprit of many dangerous illnesses.

What Makes Smelling Farts So Special?

Well, as odd as it may seem, when cells become stressed by disease, they draw in enzymes to generate hydrogen sulfide in minute quantities. Hydrogen sulfide is a gas found in rotten eggs and flatulence. It is well known for its pungent, foul smell, and it is naturally produced in the body 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 illnesses. It could very well be considered a healthcare hero!

When a diseased cell takes in the hydrogen sulfide, it allows the cell to live; if the process is reversed, and this never takes place, the cell will die and lose its ability to regulate and control inflammation in the body.

Researchers have developed a synthetic version of this which they call AP39, which skips the inhalation of actually “smelling farts” and delivers small amounts of the gas to the mitochondria. Their results and scientific findings were identical.

When stressed out cells were treated with the compound AP39, the mitochondria were protected and the cells stayed alive and healthy. Before AP39 can be tested on humans, researchers are running disease models to see how effective AP39 is.

Early results are showing that it can help up to 80 percent more mitochondria survive highly destructive conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Hopefully, AP39 will be coming soon to stores near you as an additional natural and alternative remedy to fighting inflammation!

Why Is Controlling Inflammation So Important?

Inflammation has been found to be the root cause of most chronic diseases. Therefore, controlling it is beneficial. The list is over 100 entities long, but includes the following most commonly known:

  • Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Osteoarthritis arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Diverticulitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hepatitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Nephritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Controlling Inflammation

The real question is “What Causes Inflammation and How Can We Control it?” Although stress can be caused by emotional or physical trauma, and/or nutritional and environmental toxins, or a combination of all four, the end result is that inflammation is caused by long term oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and the biological system’s ability to repair the resulting damage.

controlling inflammation and smelling fartsIt has been found that food (specifically sugar) is the major culprit in oxidative stress, with sugar in any form being the number one cause! This includes starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, legumes, sweet fruit, root vegetables, sugary drinks, sauces, breads, cakes, and pasta – all of which convert to glucose.

Another correlation with inflammation can be found in cytokines, which are the regulatory glycoproteins that act as messengers of the immune system which regulate the function of white blood cells, immunity, inflammation, and the making of red blood cells. They are stimulated by chronic infection, inflammation, or persistent stress and elevated levels have been found in those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic insomnia, preeclampsia, alcoholism, heart attack, influenza, rheumatoid arthritis, and sleep apnea.

Bottom line? Stress, known as the silent killer, promotes inflammatory cytokines and causes a number of serious implications. Smelling farts, and their hydrogen sulfide counterparts, can aid in this process to contain and help inflammation subside. This goes along with recognizing and avoiding any cytokine stimulators such as:

  • Food allergens or sensitivities
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Dysbiosis
  • Heavy metal toxins
  • Chemicals and medications
  • Chronic infections
  • Trauma and chronic pain
  • Hormonal imbalances which include adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones.

Depending on flatulence for complete inflammatory regulation might not be the best idea, as it may not be a regularly occurring event, or happen frequently enough to provide full relief or recovery. Along with inhaling and smelling farts, there are many naturopathic strategies to lower inflammation:

  • A diet low in wheat and gluten, or other food sensitivities one may have
  • Correcting any vitamin or mineral deficiencies with dietary supplementation
  • Optimizing gut function
  • Limiting exposure to chemicals, growth hormones and antibiotics by choosing to consume organic food as much as possible
  • Use natural inflammatories such as curcumin, devil’s claw, green tea, and grapeseed extract instead of NSAID medications to help deal with chronic pain, chronic inflammation, and past traumas.
  • Evaluate, recognize, and treat all hormone imbalances including thyroid, adrenal, progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol. Supporting adrenal function is most important in any chronic inflammatory condition and specific herbs used for this include rhodiola, ashwagandha, and astragalus.
  • Keep your immune system strong. Immune regulating herbs to improve immune function can include Panax ginseng, echinacea, garlic, milk thistle, and withania.

By lowering inflammation in the body you are helping all your body systems. This is so important for optimal living, in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, and extending one’s longevity. Next time you are around flatulence, remember, smelling farts is actually good for you!

You don’t need to hold your breath or walk away, just enjoy the health benefits. However, since this is not a well-known fact, you may want to keep it a bit under the radar so you don’t look strange – inhaling with a giant smile on your face!

Farting is Actually Healthy!

smelling farts in publicAside from merely smelling the farts, our friends and specialists at the Mayo clinic have concluded that farts are actually a sign of good health! Passing gas can be a sign that our gut microbes are busy keeping us alive and healthy. Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes to get the nutrients they need. If they were not fed certain foods and carbohydrates, it would be difficult for them to live in our stomach.

When the microbes create gas, they are also making molecules that boost the immune system, protect the lining of the intestine, and prevent infections. In fact, it is said that it’s perfectly normal for a healthy individual to have up to 18 incidents of flatulence per day.

All microbes are gas making and are usually odorless. They simply produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen, or methane. Sometimes a little sulfur slips in there, producing the bad smelling variety, yet now you know this to be an extremely healthy smell.

In addition, they also produce molecules called short chain fatty acids that may promote the growth of other beneficial bacteria and archaea, which in turn have been linked to weight loss and slimmer waistlines. In essence, the undigested carbohydrates that cause gas and farting allow the whole ecosystem to thrive and flourish. Therefore, farting is healthy!

In conclusion, it is important to remember that before starting any new health regimen, including diet, nutritional supplementation, or exercise, begin by speaking with your primary care physician to ensure it is a safe lifestyle change for you. Not all natural inflammatories work for everyone. (However, thankfully, there has never been a case recognized from the side effects of smelling farts.)

© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Smelling farts, or inhaling the tiny particles of hydrogen sulfide it provides, can indeed aid in preventing inflammation, healthy cell life, and increased health benefits! Scientists from the Exeter University in the United Kingdom have proven this theory and are conducting further research to introduce this alternative method of healing to the world. Most likely, this will come in a bottled form!


smelling farts