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KUSA – Whoever smelt it may have dealt it, but according to a new study, whenever someone 'cuts the cheese' they may be helping to save your life.

A study from the University of Exeter in Devon, United Kingdom has released a new study identifying the benefits of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic in large doses, but it is showing potential health benefits in small doses.

"When cells become stressed by disease, they draw in enzymes to generate minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide. This keeps the mitochondria ticking over and allows cells to live," University of Exeter medical school professor Matt Whiteman said.

"If this doesn't happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation. 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. Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive."

AP39 delivers the foul smelling hydrogen sulfide to the affected cells. Hydrogen sulfide is built naturally in the body. It gives eggs the rotten smell and flatulence it's pungent smell.

"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," University of Exeter biosciences professor Dr. Mark Wood said.

Early studies have shown AP39 reversing blood vessel stiffening and lowered blood pressure. This could lead to a better chance of survival after a stroke or heart attack.

The study has been published in the Medical Chemistry Communications journal, with a follow up study in the Nitric Oxide Journal.

Further details can be read at the University's research webpage at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_393168_en.html

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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