Sunday, October 26, 2008

Passing gas relieves pressure...

Blood pressure, that is! Yes! Who knew:

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.


The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.


The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.


“Now that we know hydrogen sulfide’s role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension,” said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science.


[via The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure | LiveScience]

I wonder if this provides any basis for the use of black salt as recommended in Ayurvedic medicine for lowering blood pressure. Black salt contains H2S, and does help relieve intestinal gas and heartburn, but I don't know if it can actually get into blood vessels where the above effect seems to work. Maybe the ancients (my ancestors!) were on to something after all? Even if they had no clue how it actually worked, classifying it as a "cooling" element, they did link it to lowered blood-pressure. Either way, black salt sure tastes good in my chaat!


And sorry guys, this still doesn't give us any easy excuse for passing gas...


[Hat-tip: Smoke Signals]

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