On December 16th, 2015 we learned about

Munching on your mucus isn’t disgusting (to your digestion)

Assuming your digits still work well enough to find this website, it’s safe to say you pick your nose. You also eat a decent amount of boogers, although that’s (probably) less intentional. As gross as that seems, it’s unavoidable thanks to our anatomy, and the fact that our bodies produce a little over a pint of mucus a day. Considering how we try to avoid spreading germs through shared snot, it seems like all this ingested goop should be a problem, but it’s not anything to really fear, because boogers are nearly more or less innoxious on their own.

All natural ingredients

The majority of your mucus is just water. Past that, there’s some proteins, sugars and some trapped debris, possibly including fungus or bacteria. None of these really qualify as “active ingredients” though— the sugars, made of oligosaccharide molecules, are there for nothing more glamorous than preventing the water from evaporating too much. It might also make boogers more palatable to six-year-olds.

The only other ingredient of note would be the mucin, which gives mucus that charming consistency, but also plays a key role in stopping bacteria from setting up shop in your sinuses. Mucin’s slippery nature also trips up bacteria that might otherwise create what’s called a biofilm. A biofilm is like an outer, protective layer of proteins for the bacterial colony that shields it from cleaning agents and our immune responses. By preventing their formation, mucin keeps bacteria from setting up shop and causing more serious infections.

Enjoy in moderation

Even though boogers aren’t so bad on their own, this isn’t a call to start digging lunch of of your nose every day. For one thing, there aren’t enough calories to keep you going, but more importantly, your nose probably can’t take it. The mucus membrane along the center of your nose is very delicate, and easily scratchable by something as small as a fingernail. Considering how much effort is already going into managing pathogens, not to mention smell and taste, introducing a new vector for infection in the form of a cut isn’t a good idea.


My first grader said: I’m getting better at picking my nose so I don’t get scratched! I’m also getting better at squeezing the boogers out with a tissue…

…actually, you don’t need to hear all this. Let’s just say this lesson ended up being “news you can use!” more than I’d intended.

 

Source: Is Eating Your Boogers Bad For You? by Jack J. Shamama, TestTube

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