Imagine if eating a slice of bread didn’t make us feel bloated and instead, made us feel intoxicated?
On one hand, it sounds like a fun new way to catch a buzz. But that wasn’t the case for a 46-year-old unidentified man.
It was recently discovered that the man suffered a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome—a condition that makes is body produce alcohol in your gut not after consuming booze, but after consuming carbohydrates.
That’s right, this guy can get drunk off of pizza.
We can make all the jokes we want, but experts say and research shows auto-brewery syndrome is no laughing matter. It’s a very serious condition that occurs when fermenting fungi or bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract grow for reasons other than alcohol. For example, taking something like antibiotics.
This particular man started to notice something was off back in 2011. He was taking antibiotics for a thumb injury but had some pretty weird side effects that weren’t warned on the label—everything from drastic and uncharacteristic personality changes to enduring bouts of depression.
“He was unable to function and it was mainly after meals,” explained Dr. Fahad Malik, co-author of the case report. “No one believed him.”
His psychiatrist diagnosed with him with depression and anxiety and prescribed some medication. But things didn’t get better from there. The man was later arrested for a DUI when he was pulled over and measuring 0.2 percent in blood alcohol concentration.
The man knew he hadn’t consumed any alcohol. But of course, that’s what they all say, isn’t it? With proof right in front of them, the police didn’t believe him and consequences were served.
Thankfully, the man’s aunt came to the rescue after doing some research and finding someone who was in a similar boat—someone with auto-brewery syndrome.
After pointing out the similarities, doctors agreed to test the man’s blood alcohol levels after he ate a meal rich in carbs, and low and behold, despite their utter confusion and shock, it spiked.
Luckily, the story has a happy ending. After trying a combination of cutting out carbs for a bit and taking probiotics, the man is finally feeling normal again. The probiotics were able to promote good bacteria in his digestive system and he was able to safely eat carbohydrates again.
It’s believed that the medication for the man’s thumb injury altered his gut micobiome and triggered the onset of auto-brewery syndrome.
Weirdly, doctors also believe that auto-brewery syndrome is more common than we think, (as of now, the condition has only been diagnosed five times in the last 30 years) and anyone who claims they haven’t had alcohol but test over the limit on their blood alcohol concentration should be tested for it.
To learn more about the illness and the anonymous’ man’s story, check out the video below.
Wow! What do you think of the mysterious auto-brewery syndrome? Have you ever heard of it before? Do you know anyone who you think may have it?