Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Don’t blame us, it’s science. At least according to a one doctor.
When it comes to eating your boogers, your first thought is: “I kinda think that’s gross. I’ve never heard of it.”
“These are my three children, and I don’t think I’d recommend that to them. So I’m kind of against it, I guess.”
“I don’t think anyone would do that really. It’s just a little nasty.”
While it might be gross, could it actually be good for your immune system?
“It has some logic to it,” says Dr. James Deangelo of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Associates. “Our ever more sterile environment is contributing to development of allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis. Hayfever and asthma are uncommon in developing countries.”
Eating boogers could be a way to train your natural defenses to deal with germs, pollen, and other things in the environment.
Boogers are nothing more than mucus from your nose, sinuses and throat. The mucus traps bacteria, dust, and dirt to keep these things out of your body. When the mucus dries, you have a booger.
By eating this byproduct, you would be presenting these foreign substances to your body to stimulate a response against them.
Observations that many children seem to eat what comes out of their nose quite naturally has led a Canadian biochemist to put the theory to the test.
“It’s a difficult one to prove, because you’d have to do it over a long period of time, and most of the studies show this is something that happens early in childhood,” cautions Dr. Deangelo.
Not only that, but we constantly and naturally swallow any excess mucus, so it’s hard to say what additional benefit eating it would have.
Even if his study shows it works, it’s unlikely to catch on.
“I would say it wouldn’t hurt you, but it’s probably not going to help you either,” says Dr. Deangelo, “and it’s probably not very socially acceptable.”