Next time someone passes gas near you, you may want to thank them. Cause a new study says smelling farts may in fact be good for your health.

It is the weirdest study I've ever heard of, but scientists at the University of Exeter in England say that exposure to hydrogen sulfide (the chemical the body produces as bacteria breaks down food, causing gas) can prevent mitochondria damage.

In non-nerdy speak, smelling farts can help prevent disease...even cancer.

Here's how the scientists say this works. Every cell in your body (except red blood cells)

smelling farts can help prevent disease

have mitochondria. This mitochondria is responsible for creating 90% of your energy and when they get damaged and fail it can cause the entire cell to die. If enough cells die, systems in your body fail and you get really sick.

The University of Exeter study (recently published in the Medicinal Chemistry Communications journal) says that in small doses hydrogen sulfide preserves mitochondria.

I know it sounds crazy, but they're preliminary research apparently seems promising.Smelling farts (or rotten eggs) as the study says,

has the power to reduce risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, and dementia by preserving mitochondria"

The research is still in the very early stages and as Time magazine is very quick to point out. So no need to seek out any stinky situations, though I'm sure these scientists will keep us posted on what they call

significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases"