Drunk Without a Drink! Don’t get mistaken it as a catch word of any local bar to attract boozers, but a rare medical condition.
Police and doctors couldn’t believe when a 46-year-old man, taken into custody on suspicion of drunken driving in North Carolina, swore that he hadn’t had alcohol.
His blood alcohol level was 0.2, about 2.5 times the legal limit and the equivalent of consuming 10 drinks an hour.
But researchers at the Richmond University Medical Center in New York eventually discovered that the man was telling the truth. He wasn’t downing beers or cocktails — instead, there was yeast in his gut that was likely converting carbohydrates in the food he ate to alcohol.
In other words, his body was brewing beer.
The findings were reported in a study in BMJ Open Gastroenterology. The man, whose identity has not been revealed, had a rarely diagnosed medical condition called Auto-Brewery Syndrome (ABS).
In people with the syndrome, fermenting fungi or bacteria in the gut produce ethanol and can cause the patients to show signs of drunkenness. The condition, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, can occur in otherwise healthy people.
People with auto-brewery syndrome may smell like alcohol or feel too tired to work or spend time with family. Some patients are unemployed because of the condition and others skip meals to be sober for longer periods.
In the last 30 years, only five cases of the condition have been reported. After some treatment, the man is now symptom-free. He was prescribed probiotics, anti fungal medication and had to follow a strict diet in order to remove the fungus from his gut.
But one need not worry as it is not a transmissible disease.