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Life StyleMan's body naturally produces alcohol due to rare gut fermentation syndrome

Man’s body naturally produces alcohol due to rare gut fermentation syndrome


A man from Belgium was recently cleared of drunk driving charges after medical tests revealed he has an uncommon condition where his body independently produces alcohol. The judge dismissed the case citing confirmation from three separate expert medical examinations that the man has auto-brewery syndrome.

Auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare disorder where the gastrointestinal tract converts carbohydrates into ethanol through fermentation by resident microorganisms. Anyone can potentially develop this condition, though it is more prevalent in individuals with diabetes, obesity or impaired immunity. Genetic factors relating to alcohol metabolism may also influence vulnerability.

Normally, microbes in the gut maintain a balanced mix that prevents overgrowth of certain yeast species. However, in auto-brewery syndrome patients, an imbalance allows organisms like Saccharomyces cerevisiae to multiply excessively. They are then able to break down carbohydrates from food into alcohol inside the digestive system. This internal alcohol production can generate symptoms matching intoxication such as blood alcohol spikes and flushed skin. Gastrointestinal upset including gas, bloating and diarrhea may additionally occur.

To help control the situation, those affected are advised to modify their diet and limit carbohydrate/sugar intake. This denies the fermenting microbes their food source for ethanol formation. Antifungal medication or probiotics may also reset the gut flora composition. Where a specific problematic yeast or bacterium is identified, targeted antibiotics can prove effective. Proper handling of concurrent issues tied to auto-brewery syndrome risk is equally important.

With accurate diagnosis and a treatment approach focusing on the root cause, individuals with this unusual condition can hopefully avoid legal troubles stemming from their body's natural alcohol production. Greater recognition of auto-brewery syndrome aims to provide fair understanding and support.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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