GO! Smell the Health Benefits of Farting

Posted on October 31st, 2008 by kathleenblanchardrn

I couldn’t resist this bit of natural health news. It seems that expelling flatulence, “cutting one”, or otherwise – farting – lowers blood pressure. Okay, you don’t really have to smell the health benefits, but the next time the wife protests, remind her that you’re simply trying to stay healthy. (Girls don’t fart). 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Maryland,  have discovered that the gas leading to flatulence is produced from an enzyme called CSE – a substance that also relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. CSE  production starts inside the cells that line the blood vessels. The odor comes from bacteria in the gut that generate small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, a toxic gas whose use might now be further developed to help with blood pressure treatment.

Scientists engineered mice that were deficient in CSE, depleting their levels of hydrogen sulphide. The mice were found to have blood pressure readings 20 mm/Hg higher than normal mice.  They then added a blood pressure drug, methacholine, but it didn’t help. That told the researchers that hydrogen sulphide is responsible for the blood vessel relaxation.

“This study shows that smelly hydrogen sulphide is also likely to have a role in regulating blood pressure and it will be a bit of an impetus for scientists to develop more specific tools to work out what’s going on, says Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, an expert in vascular pharmacology at Barts and The London Medical School. Now we see that low levels of hydrogen sulphide are necessary for better health, while high levels are toxic. Scientists hope the findings will lead to new options for treating high blood pressure, a condition that has steadily become more prevalent worldwide.

How perfect we really are, right?  Is this why we’re seeing an increased incidence of high blood pressure in women? –  Hmmm……

49 Responses to “GO! Smell the Health Benefits of Farting”

  1. In a children’s book about farting, I read that you can faint if you try to hold them in. So, I guess, I could tell my husband to fart away. He has hypertension which runs in his family. Great, thanks for the article. Really good post!!

  2. Jim says:

    Better out than in, right?

    In some cultures it’s polite to burp after food but farting…


    Wind energy is the way to GO! Kathleen*

    *Proceed with caution after curry

  3. Svasti says:

    The usual amount of farting is quite a good thing. Its one of the many natural functions of the body that in ayurveda they say it is never a good idea to suppress.

    However, if farting becomes excessive then it is usually a sign of some issue with your digestive system.


    • When I was working especially with teens, someone would eventually flatulate and get really embarrassed. I would tell them that “that was how God made our bodies and everyone does it. Why I don’t know?” Well, now I know one of the benefits.

      • Barbara Gallon! says:

        Hmm now that’s an interesting point of view Clinical and sva
        Now just why do you suppose god or some mystical nonsense would encourage farting, or even create it in the first place?
        No replies please

        • Svasti says:

          Let that cat out now!!

        • Barbara Gallon! says:

          Mr sva I strongly suggest you put aside your phoney mystic intuition for a while
          Why i do believe you would benefit from a dose of reality if you are able to grasp such a concept
          the fact is this cat is going nowhere
          this cat is staying
          and your repetitive ‘let the cat out’ bleating will have no more effect than your previous ‘yippity yappity etcetera-ity’ repetitive bleats.
          scratch scratch scratch
          No replies please – even of the 3rd party kind – that’s if you are capable of living up to your promises – which incidentally i doubt

      • Kathleen says:


        That’s the way it should be! Farts are funny, but obviously they exist for a better reasons than we knew. I was in a Tai Chi class once, and my partner was to stand on my stomach as part of our strengthening exercises. Anyway….guess what happened as soon as she did that? We laughed so hard that we couldn’t continue.

    • Blimey Svasti,
      Between you can CC everything has a ‘deeper’ health problem.
      I guess if you don’t find them funny its a sign of depression and you should pay hundreds of pounds for therapy?

      How did ayurveda come up with that gem, I think they could also point out that not holding them in also means your face is less red and you can walk much freer in tune with your natural harmonic frequency of being.

      Its a fart, pump them out laugh and try for another (not too hard though).

      • Svasti says:

        Gareth, not once did I say farts aren’t amusing. Ofcourse they are. That wasn’t the gist of what I said.

        There are known side effects on the gatro-intestinal system for those who try to hold farts in. Believe it or not, some people are so mortified by their bodily functions that they will try to hold them in. And it isn’t a good thing, coz guess what? Farts contain toxic gases that need to be released – hence being released… when people aren’t trying to hold them in!

        Not everyone is as free with the farts as you seem to be! ;)

      • Maybe but come on, you both do tend to have little paragraphs of doom in a lot of your posts normally leading to recommending therapy or something.
        Positive power and influence and all that. If you talk ill people get ‘ill’. Its like if someone starts talking about nits, everyone starts scratching.

      • GIT,

        Thank you for responding to me. I don’t look at it that way as many people do not know what some common medical and mental health symptoms are that should not continue for more than a few weeks without seeking medical attention. It could be nothing, but I just want to make sure that people learn if they want to. They can read it or not. They can ignore that part.

        Most people do not have mental illnesses, but there are millions who go undiagnosed and untreated because they think how they feel is normal. I worked in the mental health field for more than 20 years and it took me two years to figure out that I was in another major depressive episode even though I had all the classic symptoms that I hid. It would have helped it something would have made me look at myself.

        I don’t believe that just because I write about something that people are going to think that they have it. I give people more credit than that and no one has commented yet. It isn’t like nits, scratching, yawning or smiling.


      • Svasti says:

        GIT, honestly. Perhaps the “doom” is in the perception of the reader, not the writer? Personally I think I’ve only suggested once on GSTF that therapy is a good thing. And that was in context to a discussion on mental health.

        Like CC, I don’t think that just because I write something it means I expect anyone to follow my lead.

        And – I’m one of the most positive minded people that I know. In fact, I was complimented for my optimism just last week.

        What bothers me most about your comments GIT, is that they always seem to be about taking apart any opinions you don’t agree with. You’re more than happy to rabbit on about how great your activities are, and how wonderful it is to go scuba diving… but what if I was to start making statements like – oh, well I suppose you think that everyone should go scuba diving? What if people can’t afford such an expensive sport? What if people are afraid of water? Its so *rude* of you to suggest its the best thing ever to be doing with your time…

        Now ofcourse I don’t think for one minute any of the above is true. And I wonder if you believe half of the stuff you write when you criticise other people on GTSF? I certainly hope not…. but if you do then I really hope you learn to lighten up.

        I mean, CC has a lot of experience in the mental health arena. So why wouldn’t she bring up salient points where she sees fit? And I’ve done a lot of studies in yoga and so on. Just because people express opinions doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. But it doesn’t mean you have to be utterly critical all of the time either.

      • Svasti says:

        Interesting GIT. I tend to call it as I see it, no matter what’s going on. Why should I wait to discuss this just because this is a post on farting? Let it rip you say? Okay, sure!

        You assume something about my attitude towards you that you have no way of knowing. And its not true. I don’t even wear spectacles. ;) I’ve also read alot of your comments and my opinion is that generally you take a negative, cynical view of what other people say if it doesn’t fit in with your view of the world. There’s definitely a pattern there.

        Balanced is all a matter of opinion. You probably wouldn’t consider my opinions balanced, whilst I would.

        CC can defend herself but I will say I agree with her – there are plenty of people out there with undiagnosed mental health issues. Speaking as someone who let my depression and post-traumatic stress run wild for some time, I can relate. It made the world of difference when I finally got the help I needed.

        I think you tend to read too much into what is posted sometimes. And then you use your interpretations to attack what other people have said. And I don’t think that’s cool actually…

  4. Simple Zack says:

    Wow that’s interesting. I’ll definitely remember that for the next time someone rips one.

  5. Got my wife a treat the other day, couldn’t believe it…….. in China they don’t do the ‘pull my finger’ trick to their kids.
    I was ever so shocked when she fell for it and then spent half an hour laughing. So if you’re ever in China……….

    Now I tell her I am simply talking to the bull frogs that live around our house and spend all night craoking in a very fart like manner.

    I think there was a comedian who once commented that he always thought at a certain age farts would cease to be funny, well I still haven’t passed that age yet and can’t see as I ever will.

    • Jim says:

      Congrats on the ‘pull my finger’ gag Gareth…

      Whoever said romance was dead? ;-)

    • Kathleen says:


      Check it out


      I remember the first time I fell for the “pull my finger” trick – now I run the other way. I wonder how many fart machines and whoopee cushions have been sold since they were invented?

      We put a remote control fart machine in a drawer where one of our doctors sat to do his dictating. Then we hid around the corner and made it “fart” when he sat down, shifted, stood up, etc. I wish we a video.

    • I didn’t learn about the “pull my finger,” until two of my male friends introduced it to me when I was 30! Yes, I fell for it!! My husband still thinks that it is funny.

      • Kathleen says:


        Us gals need to come up with our own version of that trick. Any ideas?

        • Kathleen,

          And, stoop to their level? I’ll take the high ground. Besides, I cannot flatulate or burp on command. I have difficulty flatulating anyway, but my blood pressure is low. I can’t believe I’m talking about this. My mother still swears that I don’t fart.


        • Oh yeah, on command is a whole other issue isn’t it? I don’t think I can do that either, but I could set someone up when I know it’s going to happen anyway. I just need to think of a way……lol

        • Svasti says:

          Okay – I have to admit this one because it happens despite my best efforts. If my sister and I are out on a girly shopping day, it seems in the middle of a department store… sometimes these things just… slip out. Silent but deadly (as we say here in Oz). And so I try to move away from my sister so she won’t be affected. Without fail however, she’ll manage to walk right through the path of the, umm, fumes. And then she’ll shoot me a filthy look and I’ll burst out laughing…

  6. A/C says:

    We have a Farting scale in our house… after having 5 boys you learn to laugh at them, but sometimes they make you cry…
    It is much like the Ricter scale for earthquakes, the higher the score the worse it gets.. upto 5…

    Hubby started saying dam Dog everytime he let one go, and now Moppet has taken this board, but the dogs are far worse than anything a human can let out… Our old boy farts so bad even he gets up and moves…

    the worst thing you can do I think though is fart in bed then pull the blankets over your partners head… thats just cruel…

  7. princessfb says:

    hmm.. never could fart on command, I guess thats why I’ve always been so impressed with the finger pull trick.

    so what happens if you fart while wearing a scuba suit?

  8. Kathleen says:

    HI Princess,
    Prncesses’ don’t fart at all. Great question! I’ll do some research…Perhaps Gareth in Thailand can tell us.

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