YESSSSS!! But actually, maybe not….. Fine when you fancy being drunk, but not at all fine when you don’t. Or as the authors of this case study in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine point out:
This is a rare syndrome but should be recognized because of the social implications such as loss of job, relationship difficulties, stigma, and even possible arrest and incarceration. It would behoove health care providers to listen more carefully to the intoxicated patient who denies ingesting alcohol.
The inebriating agent appears to be the rare ‘budding’ yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The condition, known as Gut Fermentation Syndrome, or Auto-Brewery, is not unknown but the evidence had been almost entirely anecdotal. However, in this case, the authors, from Panola College in Carthage (USA) got to study a 61-year-old man who, for five years, had been getting regularly roaring drunk while claiming not to have drunk any alcohol.
His wife, who was a nurse, had been monitoring his blood alcohol for some years finding that it often exceeded 0.40% (against the legal level for blood alcohol of o.o8%! ) when she believed that he had not been drinking. For several years his physicians assumed that, since there was no way that someone could get drunk without drinking alcohol, she was wrong and that he was a closet drinker. Finally, in 2010, they agreed to take him into hospital for a 24 observation period during which he was allowed neither alcohol nor visitors. However, he was allowed both sugar and carbohydrates and at one point during the afternoon, his blood alcohol level rose to a record breaking 0.12%!
After a six week treatment with the anti-fungals Diflucan and Nystatin, a strict no carb and no sugar diet and plenty of probiotics ‘his symptoms subsided’, there was no further sign of Saccharomyces cerevisiae – and he remained sober…..
If you wish to read the full story check in to A Case Study of Gut Fermentation Syndrome (Auto-Brewery) with Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the Causative Organism. International Journal of Clinical Medicine. June 2013.