Hard to believe, but eating your boogers is good for you

It's considered pretty faux pas to stick your fingers in your nose these days. Most people think it's unhygienic, disgusting, and a sign of a poor upbringing. But is it really so bad? One researcher doesn't think it's bad at all. In fact, he says it's good for you!

Scott Napper is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He claims that mucophagy (the technical term for nose-picking) is not only harmless, but beneficial for your whole body.

Youtube/GMCTE UofS

He first came out with this thesis in 2013 and not surprisingly, it raised some eyebrows. To understand where he's coming from, it's helpful to take a look at what boogers actually are.

A booger is really just dried mucus secretion that would otherwise find its way down the pharynx into the esophagus. (In other words, you're already consuming a fair amount of it.) While dirt and dust can also collect in your nostrils and become lodged in your mucus, 90% of the booger is simply water, which is obviously completely harmless.


But Napper takes the whole matter one step further and argues that this "dirt and dust" is exactly what makes eating boogers healthy. "From an evolutionary perspective, we've fought our way out of very dirty conditions. But there can also be disadvantages to having our surroundings completely sterile," he argues. He adds that about one percent of nose secretion is made up of antibodies that can boost your immune system. 

Polls suggest up to 91% of people pick their noses. Which should make it distinctly easier for Napper to find volunteers for a long-term study on the effects of nose-picking and booger consumption. His colleagues at the university are skeptical, but his students seem a bit more on board to "dig a little deeper" into the subject. The results are sure to be interesting!

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