Published On: Wed, May 19th, 2021

Can You Breathe Through Your Butt? Maybe!

At least some animals can.

New research shows that a mammal can actually breathe through its butt, but there are limitations. The research was performed by Japanese scientists who have seemingly reversed traditional wisdom here. A statement by the scientists was printed in Eureka Alert, and not just on the back pages.

The people behind the study come from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU). So the Japanese are not at the back door of scientific research after all.

People were shocked at the news considering that they are used to venting from the rear, not inhaling. So what does this mean? And how does this work? Could it be that come the next epidemic people will need to wear masks around their behinds as well as over their faces?

It is already well known that certain drugs, and even alcohol, can be administered through the rear end. Blood vessels there can receive the medication and send it through the bloodstream to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, some people do the same thing with alcohol soaked suppositories since in this way they can get drunk faster and have a stronger high from less alcohol. Apparently this may also be the case for taking in oxygen.

According to the study, oxygen can be delivered through the wall of the intestine. In this way people can breathe in air when they suffer from some form of lung disease which causes respiratory failure.

The scientists found that oxygen can be taken in by the body as both as a gas and a liquid. The team also confirmed the improvement in oxygenation at the cellular level by immunochemical staining. But first a special procedure was needed in which the test subject’s rectum lining was rubbed to cause irritation and allow for the blood vessels to become exposed. So no, you can’t just breathe through your butt in times of danger like when choking on something.

Research Explained (from Eureka Alert)

“The rectum has a mesh of fine blood vessels just beneath the surface of its lining, which means that drugs administered through the anus are readily absorbed into the bloodstream,” first author Ryo Okabe explains. “This made us wonder whether oxygen could also be delivered into the bloodstream in the same way. We used experimental models of respiratory failure in mice, pigs and rats to try out two methods: delivering oxygen into the rectum in gas form, and infusing an oxygen-rich liquid via the same route.”

“Patients in respiratory distress can have their oxygen supply supported by this method to reduce the negative effects of oxygen deprivation while the underlying condition is being treated,” foresees Takanori Takebe, corresponding author. “Enteral ventilation showed great promise in our asphyxia-like experimental model. The next steps will be to test safety of the EVA approach with more profound mechanistic understanding by which it works; and to establish effectiveness in humans in a clinical setting.”

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