It’s always there, being produced in the lining of our noses, throats, mouths, sinuses, lungs and gastrointestinal tracts, providing moisture to tissue surfaces, which would dry out and crack without it.
But there’s more to mucus than lubrication. It also works as a sort of flypaper, trapping microbes, germs and other tiny particles, such as pollen and dust.
The gooey liquid is made of 95 percent water, 2 percent glycoprotein, 1 percent antibodies, 1 percent inorganic salts and 1 percent proteins. And every day the average person produces 1.5 to 2 litres of mucus, and its colouration may vary according to what's happening in our bodies.
If snot is yellow or green, it means that it's trying to get rid of a microbe or bacteria. It gets this colouration because of iron-containing enzymes that help digest and get rid of the germs, reports Gizmodo. But if the snot is brown or red, you musn't worry. It just means that a tiny blood vessel inside the nose has burst. If it's dark brown or greyish, there could be particles in the air that are giving it that colouration. Smokers, coal miners and people who have been near a fire produce mucus with this colouration - and it just means that its trapped all the particles before they got to theirlungs.
And the question no one dared to ask: Why do some people pick their nose and then put the salty, gooey substance in their mouth?
In 2013 biochemist Scott Napper from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and his students conducted an experiment to try to find out why some people eat their snot, and found that eating mucus is actually good for your health because it exposes your body to the germs trapped inside the liquid and helps you build immunity. Back in 2013, he told CTV that “it might serve as almost a natural vaccination, if you will”.
Maria Jesus Portalatin from the University of Zaragoza in Spain also suggested in the book Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice that we eat mucus to be in contact with weakened forms of bacteria and virus. Another one of her untested theories suggests that people in arid places pick their noses more often because mucus is about 95 percent water… and well, one needs to hydrate.
People who pick their noses obsessively suffer from rhinotillexomia, which is now recognised as a disorder.