The secret to strengthening your immune system’s ability to fight off illness might be right under your nose-- or rather, in it, according to a University of Saskatchewan researcher. Scott Napper, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University, has suggested that there may be health benefits to that most icky of icky habits: picking our noses and eating it.
Almost all kids have a compulsion to taste the things that come out of their noses, Napper said. He suggested that it’s possible that nature is pushing humans to adopt the behaviour because it is somehow to our natural advantage. Nasal mucous traps germs and stops them from getting into our lungs, Napper explained, but it’s possible that if we eat the mucous, exposure to those germs could actually help build immunity. “It might teach your immune system about what's it's likely to get exposed to, so it might serve as almost a natural vaccination, if you will,” he told CTV Saskatoon.
It’s possible, he stated, that by blowing our noses into handkerchiefs or tissues, we might be robbing our bodies of the chance to develop valuable antibodies. Napper said his idea is still very preliminary, but admitted that it's gotten a lot of attention. He now hopes to conduct a study in which some type of molecule could be inserted into people’s noses, with half the participants picking their nose and eating it, and then seeing if the molecule still makes them ill.