Health

Beer-Producing Gut Gets Man Drunk on Bread

D-briefBy Breanna DraxlerSep 19, 2013 3:54 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Here's a medical mystery for you. A man checks himself into an emergency room in Texas because he feels dizzy. Dizzy? Try drunk. His blood alcohol concentration is soaring at 0.37 percent. But here's the sticking point: the man hasn't had a single drink that day. How the heck? Theory one: the man was a closet alcoholic. Plausible, but not the case. Theory two: there was something more going on. To find out, doctors isolated the man in a hospital room for 24 hours. Without any alcohol, the medical team still saw his BAC spike after eating. Turns out the man had a thriving colony of brewer's yeast in his gut. As reported by NPR

,

"The patient had an infection with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cordell says. So when he ate or drank a bunch of starch — a bagel, pasta or even a soda — the yeast fermented the sugars into ethanol, and he would get drunk. Essentially, he was brewing beer in his own gut."

The name the doctor assigned to the 61-year-old man's condition: auto-brewery syndrome. Now that's what we call a beer belly. Image credit: ollyy/Shutterstock

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.