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Rare Syndrome Can Make You Drunk, Without Drinking

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Auto-brewery syndrome antibiotics use

Story at-a-glance -

  • Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS) is a medical condition that causes carbohydrates you consume to be fermented into alcohol in your gut
  • Antibiotic therapy, which altered the microbiome allowing for fungus to thrive, could be one triggering factor in ABS
  • Because ABS may occur more often than realized, researchers suggested that anyone who has elevated blood alcohol levels or a positive Breathalyzer but denies alcohol ingestion should be investigated for the condition
  • Strains of bacteria called K. pneumoniae that generate high amounts of alcohol were isolated from a man with ABS and were found to be higher in those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Symptoms such as changes in mood, delirium and brain fog may occur early on in ABS, even before symptoms of alcohol inebriation develop

Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS) is a medical condition that causes carbohydrates you consume to be fermented into alcohol in your gut. Also known as gut fermentation syndrome, this condition essentially makes you intoxicated, or drunk, without drinking any alcohol.

Your gut turns into a veritable brewery, creating many of the symptoms associated with heavy drinking or a hangover. Many of those affected have been arrested for driving while intoxicated and found to have alcohol blood levels far higher than the legal limit, although they had not had even one drink.


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