Weird Ailment Makes Guy Drunk—Without Drinking
Blame the yeast in his gut: NPR
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2013 3:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – Is it possible to get drunk without drinking a drop of alcohol? Yes, it turns out, thanks to a rare and bizarre ailment newly dubbed "auto-brewery syndrome." As NPR explains, the case involved a Texas man who would get drunk at random times while swearing up and down that he hadn't been drinking. Doctors isolated him in a booze-free hospital room for 24 hours and, sure enough, his BAC level magically rose. Or not so magically: It seems he had a lot of brewer's yeast in his gut—he is, or was, a home brewer—and when he ate carb-rich foods, the yeast got busy fermenting.

"That's right, folks," writes Michaeleen Doucleff, "the man's intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery." NPR dug up a handful of similar cases, usually involving antibiotics that eliminated gut bacteria and allowed yeast to gain a foothold. Grist, meanwhile, thinks there must be a market for this "hyper, hyper-locally brewed beer." Failing that, "try wiping out your gut flora and eating a lot of brewer’s yeast," suggests Sarah Laskow. Then load up on carbs, "stick a tap in your belly button and call it a day." (When it comes to beer and health, Budweiser apparently reigns supreme in an area it may not want to rule over.)

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Sep 21, 2013 5:10 PM CDT
Your gut is a human compost pile made of trillions of micro organisms. They digest your food for you, and you absorb nutrients that way. Need some new micro biotic friends? Try some kombucha.
Sep 21, 2013 7:10 AM CDT
Don't the digestive juices kill the yeast? Guess not,or maybe the guy eats them for a supplement along with brewing beer at home.
Sep 19, 2013 10:58 AM CDT
Wonder how many drunks are now going to tell cops they have this when they get pulled over for DUI?