TIME

Scientists Say Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer

102120949
Cream cheese Getty Images

I guess you owe that smelly guy in the subway a "thank you"

It has been a weird week in health news. First doctors said that Justin Bieber might save young boys’ lives (the “hip” bowl cut is actually a form of sun protection — skin cancer be gone!), and now scientists out of the University of Exeter are implying that smelling farts could actually prevent cancer, among other diseases.

“Although hydrogen sulfide gas”—produced when bacteria breaks down food—”is well known as a pungent, foul-smelling gas in rotten eggs and flatulence, it is naturally produced in the body and could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases,” Dr. Mark Wood said in a university release.

Although the stinky gas can be noxious in large doses, scientists believe that a whiff here and there has the power to reduce risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, and dementia by preserving mitochondria.

Researchers are even coming up with their own compound to emulate the stinky smell’s health benefits.

“‘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,” Professor Matt Whiteman, who worked on the study to be published in the Medicinal Chemistry Communications journal, said.

So thank the guy in the elevator. While it might have seemed like the ride from hell, IT MIGHT JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser