A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.I'm not sure the term "infection" is proper here; probably better to say his intestines were colonized, presumably as a result of his avocational exposure to the yeast. Still, it's rather interesting.
There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day...
So the team searched the man's belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent. Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer's yeast in his gut...
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.
19 September 2013
Gut Fermentation Syndrome
As reported in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine, via NPR: