Farting Is Healthy, Says Mayo Clinic

Aric Mitchell

Farting is healthy, according to scientists at the Mayo Clinic. The news comes by way of a new report on gut microbes from NPR.

Contributor Meg Vogel felt inspired to inquire about the health realities of the gas we pass after hearing of a book entitled Fart-Free Food For Everybody.

Enacting a similar reaction to our own — "What fun would that be?" — Meg decided to pose the question for people who really know what they're talking about. That led her to the door of Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"Could passing gas, in some instances, be a sign that our gut microbes are busy keeping us healthy?" she asked.

Kashyap's answer: "Absolutely. Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes in the gut to get nutrients. If we didn't feed them carbohydrates, it would be harder for them to live in our gut."

Kashyap continued, adding that when gut microbes "gobble up food" and create gas, "they also make molecules that boost the immune system, protect the lining of the intestine and prevent infections."

"A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal," he added.

For a more complete explanation of why farting is healthy and not rude — really, it's not — we recommend you check out the full scientific report.

In there, you'll discover how the sulphur that makes your farts reek are actually somewhat healthy.

("Take for instance, the broccoli, mustard and cabbage family," Vogel writes. "These Brassica vegetables are packed with a sulfur compound, called sulforaphane, that is strongly associated with a reduced risk of cancer.")

And for farting during pregnancy, ladies, the Mayo Clinic has a bit more information you might find helpful.

So there you go. Farting is healthy from a digestive standpoint, and it can help you fight cancer, though it may not do all that much for building your social circles, especially if you do it the way my brothers and I used to — right in the other person's face as they slept on the couch.

We do warn you, however, not to take this "skill" to work with you. One Social Security Administration official recently found that out the hard way when he was reported to his superiors for "uncontrollable flatulence" and issued a federal reprimand.

Apparently, not everyone sees the value in it like the rest of us do.

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]