There’s arguably nothing more disgusting than picking your nose and eating it. It’s something that your mother taught you from a young age was completely inappropriate. While it’s still a revolting thing to do, it turns out that there may be some health benefits to eating your boogers.

A lung specialist named Dr. Friedrich Bischinger has actually come forward and made the startling claim that eating your boogers can prevent a variety of health problems. His claims are causing shock waves throughout the medical community and has sparked a pretty fierce debate.

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Critics have pointed out that it’s unclear if he’s actually done research on this to test his claims or if he’s just offering his opinion. They say without actual data behind his claims, people should take them with a grain of salt.

In fact, some doctors take it a step further and claim that this behavior can cause health problems, not health benefits. They say that people who pick their nose are actually putting themselves at risk for infection, for a perforated nasal septum, and other problems.

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Dr. Bischinger stands behind his claims, however. He says that even without research, people should try eating their boogers and that the claims of health issues are completely overblown.

The reason it’s healthy to eat boogers, in Dr. Buschinger’s opinion, is because of what boogers are made out of. Your boogers are made of bacteria that was caught in your snot and filtered in your nose. Eating this bacteria helps your immune system grow stronger by exposing it to low-levels of toxins. He claims it can prevent things like respiratory infections, stomach ulcers, and may even protect against HIV.

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The germs found in boogers have been weakened by the mucus in our nose. Eating boogers is a way to essentially expose yourself to a “watered down” version of the germs that can be easily be destroyed by our immune system. Our body then develops antibodies to the germs which can more effectively fight them when we’re exposed to them in greater strength.

There is some science behind these claims. Called the “hygiene hypothesis,” it states that low levels of exposure to infectious agents is beneficial for the body. This is especially true in children whose bodies are still developing.

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Proponents of this theory argue that the reason auto-immune disorders and allergies have gotten worse in adults is because we have low exposure to pathogens early in life. We don’t develop antibodies to certain bacteria and pathogens and therefore our bodies can’t fight them off.

If this theory is true, we shouldn’t be stopping kids from eating boogers but encouraging it. Doing so may help your child stay healthy as they get older. Just be careful that they don’t dig too deeply, otherwise they may hurt themselves.

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While these theories are intriguing, without science to back them up they’re just speculative. Until we know more about how boogers impact our body, we can’t say for sure that eating them will necessarily have health benefits.