Ask any boy, man, or honest woman on this planet and they will tell you that farting makes them happy. And those brave souls who embrace their flatulence instead of avoiding it now can use science to support their claim. According to research published in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease by a team of Russian scientists, the gasses in your farts may be acting as “gasotransmitters that affect your brain, mind, and behavior.”
The central players in your joyful gaseous emissions are your gut bacteria, which are busy producing gases 24/7 from your food, and the enzymes your body produces to digest food. The average human body each day can produce up to 1200 ml of this gas, which includes nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Most of these gases are removed from the body, but some will be transferred to the bloodstream where they can function as gasotransmitters.
These gasotransmitters, which include nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and ammonia, have a dual purpose in your intestines. They not only serve as an energy source for the bacteria living in your gut, but they also can regulate the function of your brain, immune system, and cardiovascular system. For example, research has shown that nitric oxide produced by a person’s micro biota can, once transferred to the bloodstream, act as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Mice that are deficient in the enzyme responsible for producing this gas show increases in motor and sexual activity as well as long-term depression.
The types of gasotransmitters produced by an individual vary depending on the food they eat and the bacteria that live both on the inside and outside of their body. Researchers hope that medical science will pursue these findings and use them to develop treatment plans for people suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, excessive aggressiveness, and others.
“It seems feasible for instance, to attempt to normalize the amount of ammonia with the help of bacteria that will be introduced into the body in a goal-directed fashion,” says research lead Alexander Oleskin of Lomonosov Moscow State University.