Picking your nose and eating your findings is universally maligned even though the act being one of the gross habits you should avoid, but what if this behavior should actually be encouraged?
A 2015 study claims we should be doing exactly that.
Researchers at MIT said people should be eating their boogers and encouraging their children to follow suit.
The reason: protecting your teeth. The study found that boogers contain salivary mucins, which forms a barrier on your teeth from bacteria that can cause cavities.
These salivary mucins are so effective that researchers are looking into synthetic mucus that can be put into chewing gum or toothpaste.
Katharina Ribbeck, a biological engineering professor at MIT who co-authored the study, told ozy.com in 2015 that such a synthetic could be a better alternative to antibiotics.
There’s even evidence that the mucus could help prevent respiratory infection, stomach ulcers, and HIV.
The initial study is two years old, but Ribbeck published another study this month on mucins and the regulation of microbial virulence that she believes can be the basis of creating a synthetic mucus.
Friedrich Bischinger, an Austrian lung specialist, has gone even further in touting the benefits of being a booger eater. “In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines, it works just like a medicine,” he said.
Bischinger even said that those who consume snot are healthier, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.
Still, the jury is out on how, exactly, you should go about reaping those rewards. A 2006 Dutch study showed that nose-pickers had more Staphylococcus—the bacteria that causes staph infections—than people who kept their digits out of there.
“Scratching inside the nose can create tiny tears. Any injury to the body’s natural defense mechanisms can increase the risk for infection,” D.J. Verrett, M.D, an otolaryngologist in Plano, Texas, told us.
Perhaps scientists need to get working on a way to safely harvest our nasal medicine.