In 2011, a construction worker injured his thumb on the job, and his doctors gave him antibiotics to prevent infection. The wound healed without experiencing any infection, but he did have some lingering effects. Unfortunately, it took a brain bleed and even an arrest to figure out what was going on.
Shortly after the man finished his round of antibiotics, he started to experience some strange symptoms. First, he had brain fog. He compared the feeling to the same as being buzzed after chugging a few beers. Soon, the brain fog was causing him to have memory problems, he became moody, and he also started showing signs of depression.
For three years, the man dealt with these issues, and he was seeing a doctor. To treat his symptoms, he was prescribed antidepressants, but they didn’t help. He didn’t get any better, and things were just getting worse. His condition was causing him to feel dizzy and lightheaded often. This caused him to suffer a severe fall that caused his brain to bleed. The man was getting frustrated, and the depression was worsening because he hadn’t felt like himself for years, and he felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
Getting Pulled Over
Things became even worse when the man was driving home one day. His symptoms started to flare up, and he was swerving from lane to line, similar to a drunk driver. A police officer saw the way he was driving, and the man was pulled over. The man told the officers that he hadn’t been drinking. He said that he hadn’t had anything to drink in quite a while, but the police officer didn’t believe him. The man refused the breathalyzer on-site and wanted to be taken to the hospital where doctors could draw his blood. He needed to prove that he hadn’t been drinking.
Shockingly, the main failed the blood test. His BAC was 0.2, which was twice the legal limit. It was the equivalent of drinking ten drinks per hour. The man couldn’t believe it because he hadn’t had a drink. He was angry that nobody believed him, and now, he faced criminal charges for doing absolutely nothing.
Fortunately, the doctor on the man’s case believed that the man wasn’t lying. The doctor was sure that he was telling the truth, so he decided to run some tests. After a few hours, the cause of the man’s symptoms and the reason he failed the BAC came to light. The doctor discovered that it was fungi that had caused his issues for the last few years. It wasn’t mushrooms; however, it was a fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This type of fungi is also known as brewer’s yeast. It was growing in the man’s gut.
How Did This Happen?
According to the man’s doctor, the antibiotics that he took for his hand injury wiped out most of the good bacteria in his digestive tract. This made him much more susceptible to infection. The man was a construction worker, and the doctor believed that the man inhaled the responsible spores, and they created a home in his stomach.
Feeding On Carbs
The doctor explained that Saccharomyces fees on carbohydrates rather than oxygen, which creates ethanol, which is the same alcohol that we drink in alcoholic beverages. The fungi in his stomach were brewing booze in the man’s gut. Finally, the man had a real diagnosis, so he could finally be treated. He couldn’t believe that he was drunk for the last three years and never had a drop to drink.
The man wasn’t the first case of this condition. It goes as far back as 1912, and it was given the name, auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), and the condition is very dangerous. If left unchecked, the condition can cause a lethal amount of alcohol in the body. It can also cause accidents like man’s. It is easy for a person to fall and even to be in a car accident due to the alcohol even though they didn’t have a drink.
Shortly after the man was diagnosed, he traveled to an Ohio clinic where he was given a probiotic regiment and was told to avoid carbs. It did the trick for a while, but soon, the problem started again. He went to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was given a combination of antifungal and probiotic therapies, and it worked. It took a year, and he was living a normal life again. The doctors told him to reintroduce carbs into his diet slowly, but he went overboard with pizza and soda. He learned his lesson and has followed his doctor’s instructions. He now walks around with a breathalyzer, which allows him to check his own BAC. It will be a lifelong struggle, but at least he now has answers. This man is drunk every second of the day and doctors are baffled. Fortunately, they found a treatment in time.