Scientists discover link between farting and poor mental health

It’s a sign that you’re really keeping things bottled up inside.

While farting is often considered a healthy bodily function, a new study suggests that excessive wind-breaking could also be a sign of depression, anxiety and other mental maladies. A team of international scientists happened upon the flatulence finding while researching how common farting and other gas-related symptoms are in the global population.

“They [belches, farts etc.] clearly have a negative effects [sic] on people’s physical and emotional well-being,” lead author Olafur Palsson, a clinical psychologist with the University of North Carolina Department of Medicine, told Gizmodo in an email. He and other scientists with the US’ Research Institute of the Rome Foundation had conducted the gassy study in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research in France. Their findings were presented Saturday at a conference during United European Gastroenterology Week.

In order to determine the link between flatulence and mental health, the crack team surveyed 6,000 adults in the US, UK and Mexico on whether they had suffered gas-related symptoms recently, including bloating, distended stomachs, flatulence and bad breath. They then surveyed them on their mental health and general wellbeing.

The gassy study was conducted by the US’ Research Institute of the Rome Foundation in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research in France.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Passing gas was the most common gastrointestinal complaint, with 81% of study participants reporting that they’d cut the cheese at least once in the past 24 hours.

It was followed by stomach rumbling (60%), belching (58%), bad breath (48%), trapped gas (47%) and a swollen tummy (40%), Eureka Alert reported.

Clocking in last was bloating at 38%, while only 11% of the gastrointestinal guinea pigs reported experiencing zero symptoms whatsoever.

The ripping research might sound humorous on its face; however, respondents who reported blowing the most hot air also tended to score worse on the questionnaires concerning quality of life and issues such as stress and depression. In turn, scientists deduced that displaying more symptoms at once can negatively affect mental health.

Contrary to the flatulent, overweight family in Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor,” there was no significant correlation between gassiness and body mass index or weight. However, participants who exercised regularly faced a lower probability of suffering from gas attacks.

As for the global wind-breaking breakdown, Mexico boasted the most “natural gas” with the highest number of symptoms across the board. They also scored higher on the fart chart with 85% of Mexican respondents letting it rip compared to 83% of Britons and 76% of Americans.

Alas, the study’s findings have yet to be peer-reviewed, and ore research is needed before they can definitively determine how gassiness affects other aspects of health. But Palsson said that they plan to send their results to a journal in the near future.

However, don’t start holding in farts just yet, especially since that may even cause them to come out of your mouth. Not to mention that sniffing your partner’s farts can reportedly help ward off disease.

About the author


Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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