How Eating Boogers Rejuvenates and Boosts the Immune System

How Eating Boogers Rejuvenates and Boosts the Immune System

Nose-picking is considered a bad habit, but many people still do it all the same. A person may be thought to have gone nuts when he or she decides to put extracted boogers into the mouth to munch on. The idea of eating boogers may sound gross, but the search for good health and youthful look has led to the discovery that this could in fact help a person to give their immune system a boost.

Nose-picking and Booger Eating

Nose PickingNose-picking is described as the act of using one’s finger to extract mucus from the nose, while the act of eating one’s own nasal mucus is termed booger eating. This seemingly unpleasant habit of eating boogers is more formally known as mucophagy. Mucus is believed to be secreted by the tissues lining the nose, mouth, throat, sinuses, lungs and gastrointestinal tracts. It helps to trap dust, bacteria and other harmful substances and prevent them from entering the body. Apart from boogers, nasal mucus is also typically referred to as bogeys and snot.

Children are generally known to be more involved in nose-picking and mucophagy, but some adults do engage in this as well. According to some studies reported by the BBC, up to 90 percent of adults admitted to have been involved in nose-picking. About 10 percent of this adult owned up to occasional consumption of their own boogers. Yet, the society frowns at nose-picking, so much so than audible eructation or flatulence is more permissible.

The Immune System

Your immune system has an important role to play in the extent of good health you enjoy as well as how well you are able to keep signs of aging under control. When attacked by noxious foreign bodies, it is this system that helps to repel such attacks. The level of immunity your body enjoys greatly determines how well you are able to survive infections. The two main mechanisms of immune system’s attack on infections are the Th1 and Th2 lymphocytes or white blood cells.

How Can Eating of Booger Boost Immunity?

It is believed that dirt, which boogers may be considered a part of, could in actual fact help to boost the immune system. Dirt, in a way, helps to “exercise” the immune system. Immunity could be compromised when there are no infections to be fought, according to Dr. Mercola. The stimulation that results from booger consumption or through encounters with harmless microbes helps to keep the immune system active and strong.

Scott Napper, a Canadian professor of biochemistry, is one of the experts that have come up with the suggestion that eating boogers may help to rejuvenate and boost your immune system. Speaking to a group of kids, he suggested that the sugary taste of snot may be a signal to the body that it needs to be consumed. The biochemist believes introducing pathogens into the immune system could result in improvement in natural body defenses.

Back in 2004, Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, a German lung specialist, had reasoned along the same line. He supposedly argued that eating boogers could promote health, although this has been said by some to be the result of poor translation from German. There is no scientific study to back this idea yet.

Hygiene May Contribute to Diseases

Habits such as mucophagy are considered unhygienic and typically frowned at, but they could be helpful to the immune system in some way. In an interview with CBC, Napper observed that there has been a rise in incidences of allergies and immune system diseases over the years as people’s level of hygiene improves. This somehow confirms what is referred to as the hygiene hypothesis, which is based on the idea that exposure to certain germs and infection from a young age can help to enhance immunity development.

Some studies suggest that this hypothesis may explain why allergies and immune system diseases are more common among families with higher income – a group more likely to maintain a hygienic lifestyle. Without some level of exposure to bacteria and viruses, you are at increased risk of going down with a sickness. Asthma, autoimmune disease, eczema and cardiac disorders are some health issues that have been associated with the hygienic hypothesis. Nasal mucus eating may also help to combat depression and cancer.


Perhaps, you are already starting to contemplate tapping into that yummy mucus to boost your immune system. But before making nose-picking and booger eating a major activity of interest, it is important to note a couple of things. Excessive nose-picking could result in nosebleeds, based on what was observed in patients with rhinotillexomania, or compulsive nose-picking disorder. Also, a 2006 study established a link between nose-picking and staphylococcus aureus, suggesting that habitual nose-pickers are more likely to suffer from the infection.

It appears that it is not a completely bad thing to consume a bit of those tasty boogers after all. If this claim of immunity boost is to be believed, then that is a good reason to start munching away on dried nasal mucus. The hygiene hypothesis lends a bit of credibility to how boogers may help boost your immune system to promote good health and help you maintain a younger look. If the claim is false however, you can comfort yourself by the reality that nose-picking helps to prevent damage to the nasal septum that could result from blowing out dried nasal mucus.



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