This is like many other auto brewery syndrome stories, where someone is drunk without drinking or gets pulled over for driving under the influence, but they haven’t had any alcohol that day. Medical professionals are uncovering strange cases called gut fermentation syndrome, aka auto brewery syndrome, across the nation.
Auto brewery syndrome is a medical condition where alcohol’s chief intoxicator, ethanol, is created within a person’s digestive system, typically due to an overabundance of yeast. Auto brewery syndrome happens when the carbohydrates a person eats are transformed into ethanol by an excess of yeast within the digestive system. This results in intoxication, all without consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The auto brewery syndrome cause is typically an excess of brewer’s yeast within a person’s stomach, intestine, or digestive system. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the type of yeast associated with gut fermentation syndrome. While the syndrome doesn’t always result in intoxication, it does produce some levels of alcohol. It’s associated with Chron’s disease and short bowel syndrome.2
The team at our alcohol treatment center recognizes that auto brewery syndrome is a true diagnosis, so how is it treated? While the syndrome is rare, it is helpful to understand its treatment methods. In a recent case of the syndrome, antifungal medications and a low carbohydrate diet successfully treated auto brewery syndrome. 3
For those who struggle with alcoholism in addition to gut fermentation disorder, residential treatment for alcoholism is also crucial in treating the secondary challenge of alcohol use disorder.