Hey, Nose Pickers: Science Says Boogers Are Good For You
As my coworkers already know from sharing an open floor plan office with me, I have no shame in my nose-picking game. In my experience, anyone who looks down upon the act is just biding their time with coy little scratches until they’re alone in their car/shower/bed. Although I do not eat my boogies (I am a sensual adult woman, after all), I was happy to find scientific validation that there is some real value hidden within our nostril-dwellers.
Back in 2013, Scott Napper, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, made a big splash by proposing that picking and eating boogers could boost our immune systems by exposing our bodies to small amounts of everyday germs. He hypothesized that exposure to the dust, dirt, and bacteria trapped in our nasal mucus could serve as a mini-vaccine. Napper even went so far as to say that the sweet taste of boogers may be an evolutionary trait developed to encourage snot consumption.
Although the results of this study remain unpublished three years later, other researchers believe that you wouldn’t necessarily need to eat your boogers to get the immune-boosting benefits, since most of us swallow nasal secretions without even trying.
Perhaps more important than any of that however, is the recent discovery of a new antibiotic derived from chemicals found within boogers (yes). At a time when the over-prescription of antibiotics has led to the rise of resistant superbugs like MRSA, this snot-derived drug may offer a solution. While looking in some…unusual places (i.e. the inside of your face cave), researchers stumbled upon Staphylococcus lugdunensis, a close cousin of the staph infection-causing bacteria that actually seems to ward off the bad bacteria. In fact, they found that lugdunensis emits a previously unknown chemical that is so good at killing bad bacteria, it could become an effective treatment for superbugs like MRSA, which infected over 80,000 people in the U.S. in 2011.
So, there you have it. Next time you feel the urge to swat a kid’s hand away from his face, just remember that the secret to fighting diseases could lie in that glorious little boogie. Talk about digging for gold!