The Man’s Rare Condition Gets Him Drunk Off Carbs Fermenting In His Gut

Some people will go to incredibly ludicrous lengths to try and escape a drunk driving ticket; however, for one man, his seemingly unlikely excuse may have turned out to be a new medical condition.

It is thought that the condition causes the man's gut to act as a sort of brewery.

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The man in question had not experienced these specific symptoms before, and so had not reported them to his doctor — and neither was he on any over-the-counter or herbal medication.

However, it is possible to track the root of the condition potentially back to 2011.

Back in 2011, the man incurred a thumb injury.

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The serious thumb injury left the man on a short course of antibiotics. However, the man had also claimed of suffering from bouts of depression, memory loss, and mental changes since the injury.

Furthermore once he had finished the antibiotics, the man started experiencing out of character behaviors, according to a study written about the case in the BMJ Journal of Gastroenterology.

The man was referred to a psychiatrist and prescribed more medication.

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"Brain fog" and aggressive episodes were treated in 2014 by a prescription of lorazepam and fluoxetine, however, the strangest symptoms were still to come.

One night, the man was pulled over by police who asked him how much he had been drinking.

The police breathalyzed the man, and the results were shocking.

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Depsite not having drank anything that evening, the man had a blood alcohol level equal to that of someone who had consumed around 13 beverages! The level was specifically at 200 mg/dL, a level which Science Direct describes as, "This is the blood alcohol level where a person appears drunk and may have severe visual impairment."

The police did not believe that he had not been drinking and arrested him.

Once he was arrested, the man was taken to hospital.

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According to the medical case report, "The hospital personnel and police refused to believe him when he repeatedly denied alcohol ingestion. He recovered fully and was discharged."

However, the man's aunt had heard about a similar case, and so convinced him to head for more tests to get to the bottom of the bizarre incident.

The test results yielded some interesting results.

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An analysis of the man's stool revealed traces of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is commonly known as brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast is typically used in the process of brewing alcohol by turning carbohydrates into alcohol by forms of anaerobic respiration.

This led to the condition being called Auto-brewery syndrome.

Auto-brewery syndrome is also known as gut-fermentation syndrome.

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The condition is very rare. The case study describes the condition as such:

"[ABS] is a rarely diagnosed medical condition where ingested carbohydrates are converted to alcohol by fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. Patients with this condition become inebriated and suffer all the medical and social implications of alcoholism, including arrest for drunken driving."

The test for the illness consisted of constant breathalyzer testing.

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The man was given a carb-heavy meal, and then monitored with a breathalyzer over time. The results showed his blood alcohol level increasing steadily.

I can't imagine how disconcerting a feeling it would be to get drunk off simply eating some toast!

The man has been doing better since treatment.

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According to the report, following a treatment of carbohydrate monitoring and anti-fungal medication, the man "no longer has elevated blood alcohol levels nor did he note any increase in breathalyzer values when challenged again with 200 g of carbohydrates".

They also recommend that future avenues for treatment may include, "dietary modifications, appropriate anti fungal therapy, and possibly probiotics. The use of probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation could be considered for future studies."

The report still finds ABS to be an undiagnosed condition.

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Those who published the report acknowledge that there is still a lot to learn about this condition, and that hopefully with more case studies and more time the condition will be more widely recognized and understood.

Thankfully this specific gentleman seems to be doing much better now, and he hopefully won't be getting pulled over again for such bizarre reasons any time soon!

h/t: BMJ & Vice