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A woman goes to the hospital because her body is producing beer

A woman goes to the hospital because her body is producing beer

Homebrewery syndrome involves fermentation of alcohol by fungi living in the individual’s gut.

Courtesy | Researchers suspect that continued use of antibiotics may have altered his gut microbiome.

Gastroenterologists at Mount Sinai Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto (Canada), recently treated a 50-year-old woman who went to the emergency department seven times in two years with symptoms of alcohol poisoning, despite reporting that she had not consumed alcohol. Alcoholic beverages for religious reasons.

According to doctors, the patient had difficulty speaking, breathed alcohol, and often fell due to sleepiness.

His plasma alcohol level was high. After a thorough examination, experts diagnosed him with Autobrewery Syndrome (ABS).

Autobrewery syndrome

Homebrewery syndrome involves fermentation of alcohol by fungi living in the individual’s gut.

In an article describing the case recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Rachel Zwood and other co-authors of the study explained that this rare syndrome was first described in 1952 in Japan, where it is known as Meitei-sho. Translated as “alcohol autointoxication syndrome”.

The authors emphasize that this is a rare syndrome when microbes capable of fermenting alcohol from carbohydrates (mainly fungi) outnumber normal gut microbes (the number of microbes in the digestive system).

They indicated that the most commonly implicated fungi are the yeasts ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’ and several species of the genus ‘Candida’.

The researchers suspect that the continued use of broad-spectrum antibiotics to control his recurrent urinary tract infections caused a change in his gut microbiome (dysbiosis).


Doctors prescribed an antifungal medication – to prevent the growth of certain fungi – for oral administration and a dietician recommended a low-carbohydrate diet.

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Probiotics (‘Lactobacillus acidophilus’) were also administered to replenish the gut microbiome.

The patient was asymptomatic for six months. A test to assess the safety of carbohydrate consumption found no blood ethanol.

Based on these results, experts advised him to gradually increase his carbohydrate consumption.

To reduce the chances of new intestinal dysbiosis, he was advised to use short-spectrum antibiotics only after confirming the diagnosis by a doctor.

Another case

In April, a police court in Bruges (Belgium) acquitted a 40-year-old man after it was proven he suffered from autobrewery syndrome after driving with a high blood alcohol level.

However, the prosecutor’s office requested that the man’s driver’s license be revoked for life, arguing that he was a danger derived from his illness.

The defense managed to convince the judge not to impose such a ban, pointing out that their client followed a low-carbohydrate diet that was capable of preventing the onset of the syndrome.

The judge ruled that this was a force majeure case, as the sufferer has a rare intestinal disease that causes alcohol to be produced in his body and, therefore, he can continue to drive.

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