The scientists, who reviewed studies on the malodorous gas and its effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, found that Hydrogen sulphide activates a gene implicated in longevity in a similar way to resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine, the Age reported.
Unlike resveratrol, hydrogen sulphide is made by the body.
It appears to slow ageing and ageing-related diseases in at least three main ways, said Jiang Zhisheng and colleagues at the University of South China in Hengyang City, Hunan, in a report slated for publication next month in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.
The gas helps counter cell-damaging free-radicals; encourages production of an enzyme thought to be a regulator of lifespan; and interacts with a gene that appears to have its own market basket of anti-ageing activity.
"Data available so far strongly suggest that hydrogen sulphide may become the next potent agent for preventing and ameliorating the symptoms of ageing and age-associated diseases," Jiang said in a statement, adding that people may one day take hydrogen sulphide-rich food or supplements to slow ageing.