- The body manufactures tiny quantities of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
- Mounting evidence indicates that the gas plays a beneficial role in the health of the cardiovascular system and other parts of the body.
- Based on these findings, researchers are developing H2S-based therapies for conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to irritable bowel syndrome.
Imagine walking into a hospital emergency room, with its hand-sanitizer-adorned walls and every surface meticulously scrubbed free of contaminants, only to encounter the stench of rotten eggs. Distasteful though this juxtaposition might sound, the toxic gas synonymous with that smell—hydrogen sulfide (H2S)—may well become a fixture in such settings in the future. Over the past decade scientists have discovered that H2S is actually essential to a number of processes in the body, including controlling blood pressure and regulating metabolism. Our findings indicate that if harnessed properly, the gas could, among other benefits, help treat heart attack patients and keep trauma victims alive until they can undergo surgery or receive a blood transfusion.
A Whiff of Poison
This article was originally published with the title Toxic Gas, Lifesaver.