According to a recent report on ABC News.com, there’s a mysterious syndrome out there that raises individuals’ blood alcohol levels even if they haven’t been drinking. (I wonder if anyone pulled over last night for drinking and driving tried to use this one on officers). It’s called “Auto-Brewery” syndrome, and it happens when the digestive system turns into its own homegrown brewery.
It has come into view as a woman arrested for DWI recently had her charges dropped in court when her lawyer presented this defense with medical evidence from her doctor.
“Auto Brewery” causes substances in the gut to ferment food into ethanol, raising a person’s blood-alcohol level. As levels rise, the person can display all the symptoms of someone who has had too much alcohol, including slurred words and confusion.
Dr. Richard Peek, a professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who is quoted by ABC News.com, says the cause of the symptoms is not fully understood but there is one likely cause.
“Yeast are normally in the GI tract and the commonality of all these case reports is they have an increased number of candida,” Peek told ABC News. “When [yeast] ingest a meal that has a high amount of carbohydrates, they metabolize the carbohydrates into ethanol.”
Auto-Brewery syndrome is one of the most extreme effects of the process.
More studies are needed to really get to the bottom of this scientific phenomenon.
Taking probiotic supplements, exercising and getting adequate rest are currently recommended for those who might suffer from it.