Auto-brewery syndrome

Published by: Sherlin_10, Fri Oct 25 2019


Recently I came across a news article which stated that a man who was charged for drunk driving in 2014 was diagnosed with a rare condition called Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS). Now what is ABS exactly?? Auto-brewery syndrome is a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system. This means that after a person consumes carbohydrate-rich foods, they can become intoxicated without actually drinking alcohol. Saccharomyces cerevisisae, a type of yeast is the pathogen that causes this syndrome. Gut fermentation syndrome was first described in Japan in 1952 and was only formally named as such in 1990. Auto-brewery syndrome should be considered as a possibility in any patient who shows alcohol toxicity, but denies drinking alcohol, doctors at Richmond University Medical Center in New York wrote as they described the unnamed man’s case in BMJ Open Gastroenterology. Symptoms Sounds cool right? Getting drunk without ACTUALLY DRINKING!! Maybe not because this syndrome can take a toll over your daily activities. Symptoms and side effects are similar to when you are slightly drunk or when you have a hangover from drinking too much like red or flushed skin, dizziness, disorientation, headache pain, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, dry mouth, burping or belching, fatigue, memory and concentration problems and mood changes. It can also lead to or worsen health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel disease, depression and anxiety. Occurrence Auto-brewery syndrome is usually a complication of another disease, imbalance, or infection in the body. The use of antibiotics can lead to ABS by clearing the gut bacteria and thus allowing the yeast to grow. It can occur in patients of short bowel syndrome after surgical resection because of fermentation of malabsorbed carbohydrates. A variant occurs in persons with liver abnormalities that prevent them from excreting or breaking down alcohol normally. Patients with this condition can develop symptoms of auto-brewery syndrome even when the gut yeast produces a quantity of alcohol that is too small to intoxicate a healthy individual. Crohn’s disease may lead to the formation of yeast in the gut. Other factors that lead to excessive yeast in the stomach may include poor nutrition, diabetes and low immune system. Treatment Treatment includes: 1) Reducing consumption of carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol. 2) Anti- fungal medication. 3) Treating an underlying condition like Crohn’s disease may help balance fungus in your gut.

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