Over a span of six years, a 46 year old man experienced chronic states of drunkenness, but how can that be?
It turns out that he had auto-brewery-syndrome, or ABS. ABS causes carbohydrates in the digestive tract to turn into intoxicating alcohol! Essentially, it is gut bacteria fermentation. Within auto-brewery syndrome, bacteria is fermented within the gastrointestinal system, producing dangerous amounts of ethanol in the blood. It is believed that an antibiotic he was prescribed back in 2011 altered his natural gut microbiome, wreaking havoc and causing a multitude of symptoms including “brain fog.”
After traveling to a clinic in Ohio, doctors discovered strains of Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, two bacterias known as “brewer’s yeast” for their fermenting and intoxicating qualities. As a result, doctors put him on an anti-fungal and no-carb diet, but with little to no avail he continued to experience flare ups and a fatal blood alcohol concentration of .4%! Doctors at Richmond University Medical Center then prescribed him antibiotics which also resulted in a relapse when he ate a slice of pizza. Finally, as a last attempt, he was prescribed probiotics to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria and after a few months, he was able to incorporate carbs back into his diet.
Did you know that the body could produce its own alcohol? What are some other effects that an unbalanced microbiome may have on the body?