You can brew beer in your belly

A Case Study of Gut Fermentation Syndrome with Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the Causative Organism

Gut Fermentation Syndrome is described as a syndrome whereby patients become intoxicated without ingesting alcohol. In addition to the term Auto-Brewery, this syndrome has also been called Drunkenness Disease and Endogenous Ethanol Fermentation. The underlying mechanism is thought to be an overgrowth of yeast in the gut whereby the yeast ferments carbohydrates into ethanol.

A 61 years old male, presented in January of 2010 with at least a five-year history of unexplained intoxication. [...] In November of 2009, the subject was taken to the Emergency room on a day when he had not ingested alcohol. In the ER, his blood alcohol concentration was 371 (0.37%). He was admitted to the hospital for 24-hour observation and treated for severe alcohol intoxication. [...]

In April of 2010 the patient was admitted to the hospital for a 24-hour observation period. [...] At one point during the afternoon, the patient's BAC rose to 120 mg/dl (0.12% per breathalyzer) in this controlled situation.

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5 Responses:

  1. Lloyd says:

    I had a flashback to a 1970s Japanese television cartoon version of Pinocchio(?), where at one point, in an inn, our protagonist asks for food. He is given water, flour, and yeast, and pointed at the inn's hearth, where a group of people are standing around warming their stomachs to make bread. It's not in the translated original, can't find a reference. Hey, lazyweb!

  2. Ian says:

    I think there's been a drunk driving case in the UK involving this - he had the blood alcohol level without drinking any.

    (Is that tick box new? Is it some 'only a spambot would pretend to have ticked it' thing?)

  3. Tom Lord says:

    In fairness to other patrons, such people should have to pay a higher cover charge.

    • Adolf Osborne says:

      I was thinking more along the lines of:

      In fairness to other patrons, such people should be denied spirits, but instead given (gratis) a loaf of bread, a large bottle of water, and a lampshade. If they manage to make good use of all of these items, future cover charges are waived.

      (That said: A friend of mine actually had this problem. It did not appear to be as pleasant as it might seem that it ought to have been.)

  4. thielges says:

    Once when a doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics which seemed to have killed off all of the natural flora in my gut. At the time I was brewing a belgian style beer using a yeast with a distinctive flavor profile (Wyeast 1762 for you homebrew nerds out there). I was around large quantities of that single strain of yeast and of course consumed a fair amount of it too.

    For about a month the various emissions from my gut carried with it the distinctive odor profile of that yeast. It is hard to believe that brewing yeast could survive the environment of my gut, but I have no other explanation. Then finally natural microrganisms seemed to take residence again and I went back to normal.