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Auto brewery syndrome and drunk driving charges

Posted on April 21, 2020

Some people might assume that when a driver is charged with an impaired driving offense, they must have been consuming alcohol either prior to or while driving. That, however, may not be the case. There is a rare medical condition that can result in a person having an elevated blood alcohol content even if they have not consumed any alcoholic beverages. 

Auto brewery syndrome and gut fungus 

As explained by Medical News Today, the condition known as auto brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome may develop when a person’s natural flora in the gastrointestinal tract becomes disturbed. Everyone has a normal level of fungi in their gut, but when this is allowed to get out of control and too much fungus results, it can metabolize simple or complex carbohydrates into alcohol. 

One man’s story 

Today reported on the case of one man who struggled for many years to get people to believe that he did not have a serious alcohol problem. He was even charged with a drunk driving offense despite his assertions that he had not been drinking. Eventually, his auto brewery syndrome was diagnosed. 

It was the use of antibiotics as part of his recovery from an injury that stripped his body of good fungus and allowed too much brewer’s yeast to develop in his system. Any time that he drank soda, ate pasta, or consumed any other sweet or carbohydrate-rich foods or drinks, his blood alcohol level would spike. In some instances, his BAC was at levels that may otherwise cause people to become unconscious. He had to undergo anti-fungal treatment and avoid many foods and drinks for a while to recover.