Have you ever been drunk without actually drinking alcohol? Did you know that you can brew alcohol in your gut? If not, you need to know about it! Gut fermentation is known to many as auto-brewery syndrome.
Others know it as Intestinal Candida. All in all, it can be described as a rarely found medical condition where very high levels of ethanol that can be intoxicating are produced through the process of fermentation within the digestive system of a human being.
It has been associated many times with a pathogen, or a type of yeast, called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. This yeast is not only found within the body, but is also an ingredient in alcoholic products and your everyday bread. Candida yeast has been in the spotlight as one of the major causes of auto-brewery syndrome.
Formation of Gut Fermentation Syndrome
Having some amount of yeast in the body is quite good, considering that it helps in prevention of diarrhea and is also a good boost for the immune system. When one takes antibiotics, they react in a manner that kills not only bad bacteria but makes it possible for yeast to accumulate in a large portion that could trigger the formation of the auto-brewery syndrome.
When such has already occurred in the body, and one takes any amount of sugar whatsoever, whether it is a small tablespoon or a whole packet, the body reacts and changes it into ethanol. The result of this is a spike in the blood alcohol content.
Another possible reason behind the auto-brewery syndrome is the liver. However, scientists have not been able to figure out the relation with the syndrome.
The by-products of auto-brewery syndrome are acids, such as propianic acid (PPA) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).
Signs And Symptoms of Gut Fermentation Syndrome
Gut Fermentation Syndrome has been associated with various symptoms, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Dry mouth
The case that has been identified as the landmark case when it comes to auto-brewery syndrome is the case of a 61-year-old man from Texas, who was arrested for drunk driving. When he denied and when investigation was done, he was found to present drunken symptoms. He recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.40. He also showed signs of dizziness and light-headedness.
Another case that has shed some light on this issue involved Matthew Hogg, who has had the syndrome for more than 20 years. Sources stipulate that he displayed symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which gradually worsened to bloating and having gas within the stomach. He also experienced chronic fatigue, muscular aches and pains, chronic headaches, mental impairment, and mood disturbances.
A New York woman was charged with a DUI, which was dismissed after authorities realized that it was auto-brewery syndrome. She presented with glassy-blood shot eyes and slurred speech. She also recorded a blood-alcohol content of 0.40, like the Texas victim.
Similarly, in 2014, a 60-year-old man from Illinois realized he had this disease after four years of suffering. This is a clear indication that there are many individuals who are suffering from gut fermentation syndrome, but they may not be aware.
Who Does It Affect?
Funny enough, it can affect anyone that is living. It has come up to suggestion that it could be a probable cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The symptoms are hidden and can go undetected for several years, just as the man whose condition went undetected for 20 years. However, as earlier stated, it is a rare condition, which explains the very few reported cases.
Auto-brewery syndrome has been related to a number of risk factors that seem to trigger the formation of alcohol in the system.
These factors include the following:
- Gastric Emptying
When it comes to age, gender, and muscle risk factors, the variation is mainly based on the differences in relative water volume. This excludes metabolic differences. The reason behind this is that men tend to have more muscle and body mass than their female counterparts, and thus have more water volume.
It is the same case when it comes to age. A 23-year-old man and a 58-year-old man may weigh the same, but the 23-year-old likely has more lean muscle mass than the 58-year-old, and thus more water volume.
When one drinks fast, you could expect that he or she may become drunk faster. It’s common knowledge that when one eats some foods, he or she may be able to drink for a longer period of time, due to the reduced rate of gastric acid into the small intestine.
When one directly injects alcohol into the system, there will be an immediate rise of BAC (blood-alcohol concentration), which is followed by a leveling of the blood alcohol concentration, as the ethanol works to distribute itself around tissues. Thus, rate and method of delivery do matter when it comes to how auto-brewery syndrome works.
Treatment For Gut Fermentation Syndrome
With the case studies stated above, some have been able to be treated. The relative obscurity associated with the disease makes it hard to seek treatment, and there is no specific treatment associated with this condition.
There is still hope at the end of the road. Scientists are still working on a specific medication for gut fermentation syndrome as they continue with their research.
Gut Fermentation Syndrome Conclusion
Have you ever failed a breathalyzer test and tried to explain that you haven’t been drinking, or rather never had a drink in your life, and even cursed the police officer? Well, if this is the case, you should consider auto-brewery syndrome as a potential possibility.
The good news is that there is hope for all victims of the gut fermentation syndrome condition. Once you realize that you have been given a DUI for no apparent reason, and no one seems to understand your predicament, then its time you took a step and checked up for the symptoms and spoke with a medical professional to verify the possibility.