Left banner image adapted from amyloidosis gross node, by Ed Uthman MD, Creative Commons license

What's in flatus?

Intestinal gas, or flatus, is made up of a number of different gases. Here's a list as provided by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

  • Carbon dioxide: from swallowed air, released by the stomach when bicarbonate in digestive juices mix with stomach acid, and from the breakdown of carbohydrates
  • Oxygen: from swallowed air
  • Nitrogen: from swallowed air
by davric
  • Hydrogen: from the breakdown of carbohydrates (flammable)
  • Methane: only produced in about a third of people from the breakdown of carbohydrates (flammable)
  • Sulfides: particularly hydrogen sulfide (asphyxiant), produced by bacteria in the large intestine and is dependent on the food ingested 
Foods that result in sulfide production result in more gas: cabbage, brussel sprouts, beans, high fiber foods, onion, garlic, breads
    Tomorrow I'll explain why it smells

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