Ever been drunk after a night on the town? Well what if you got drunk all the time without the alcohol or fun with your best buds?
Ladies and gents: introducing auto-brewery syndrome, the medical condition where your guts make their own booze whenever you ingest delicious carbs.
Now we hear you asking: WTAF?
But stay with us, because it’s 100% real, and a man’s battle with the bizarre condition is making the news rounds.
Auto-brewery syndrome caused a man to produce alcohol in his gut and act drunk after eating carbs https://t.co/6Tx9JhsPup
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 23, 2019
The 46-year-old gent’s bout with the bizarre condition was recently detailed in the medical journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology and… well, this is one of those science stories that just proves how weird and wonderful—and terrifying—our human bodies can be.
For years, the patient’s friends and family looked at him askance when he’d insist that he’d not had a drop of alcohol, despite falling down, experiencing “brain fog” and memory loss, and even being arrested for drunk driving. He also developed depression, and his condition got so bad he had to give up his job.
As Dr. Fahad Malik, co-author of the BMJ report put it during an appearance on The TODAY Show:
“He was unable to function and it was mainly after meals. No one believed him.”
A turning point came when his aunt heard about a similar case in Ohio. She bought him a breathalyzer and he began tracking his blood alcohol content.
And when he went for medical testing, sure enough: there was brewer’s yeast in his stool.
What could possibly be causing this?
Antibiotics the man had taken for an injury had changed his gut biome such that certain fermentation fungi and bacteria were able to multiply unchecked.
Any time the guy ate carbs, these microbes would get to work turning all the sugars in his food and drink into ethanol, leading to what the report called “extreme blood alcohol levels”—sometimes of the blackout variety.
Thankfully, the treatment protocol of a strict low-carb diet, anti-fungal therapy and probiotics supplements have the gent back on track a year later—his symptoms have completely vanished.
But it was no small feat to tackle this strange condition, one doctors believe is probably far more common, and frequently misdiagnosed, than we realize.
On the internet, this weird story drew plenty of interest and—because it’s the internet—jokes.
Living the dream. https://t.co/OIA6ZcbHdX
— John Carney (@carney) October 23, 2019
That might be the most unusual super power ever
— Matthew Davis ???????? (@ImMatthew_Davis) October 25, 2019
Wired: Microbe-breweries https://t.co/9tcKbKKArh
— Adam Burke (@atpburke) October 24, 2019
Yeah. It tasted like Coors Light.
— . (@impulsebynature) October 23, 2019
omg…let me find out I can eat pancakes and get twisted at the same damn time. date nights finna be liiiiithttps://t.co/6nKPMPuCN2
— Fiyah ✊???? Angelou (@SweetKixx) October 23, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the soon to be "rigatoni defense" while driving under the influence ???? https://t.co/Aw6Ua0yguW
— The Liberty Speaks (@imLibertySpeaks) October 23, 2019
I would tap my stomach and rent myself out for parties!
Man’s stomach brews its own beer, a rare condition known as ‘auto-brewery syndrome’ https://t.co/9a2ELZkoti
— Noved317 (@indydevon) October 25, 2019
This poor man. But also I WANT AUTO BREWERY SYNDROME. pic.twitter.com/ttJ3f7Hk5P
— ????Kelly Rose???? (@kellyrose) October 21, 2019
Never give up on your dreams… https://t.co/3s89UoHf0n
— Josh Hale (@red_stagg) October 20, 2019
So there you have it: With a simple round of strong antibiotics you could bring new meaning to the phrase “belly up to the bar.”
Science, who knew?
Enjoy a good medical mystery? The book Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries is available here.