The man suffered from typical symptoms of drunkenness: cloudy mind, irritation, sadness and memory failures. He was even arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, although he had not touched a single drop of alcohol.
The individual was treated with depression and went on to psychotherapy, but it was not until three years later that he really knew what he was suffering from, writes the BBC that reports the case. His clinical picture coincided with “intestinal fermentation syndrome” or auto-brewery syndrome (ABS).
This health problem – which is described in the study as being underdiagnosed – is characterized by the fact that the digestion of carbohydrates – present in foods such as pasta, rice, bread or even potatoes – produces alcohol endogenously in the intestines.
“It is a much more common syndrome than it seems. In the past two years, I have received between 500 and 600 calls from people who say they suffer from this disease and I currently maintain contact with about 200 who have, in fact, been diagnosed,” the BBC confirmed. physician Barbara Cordell, chief investigator at Panola University, Texas.
How does the intestine make alcohol?
In the case of the patient concerned, doctors determined that exposure to antibiotics would have caused an abnormal growth of fungi Candida e S. cerevisiae in your gut. This last fungus, in particular, is known as the element that ferment carbohydrates for the production of some types of beer.
The diagnosis ended up in 2017 at the University Medical Center in Richmond, New York, after several episodes in which he felt “drunk” without drinking alcohol.
“The most significant event of his drunkenness occurred when a fall caused an intracranial haemorrhage. He was transferred to a neurosurgical center”, reads the description of the case published in the British Medical Journal.
“Once again, the medical staff did not believe the claim that the patient had not drunk alcohol, despite his insistence,” doctors Fahad Malik, Prasanna Wickremesinghe and Jessie Saverimuttu describe in the article.
The patient’s name was not disclosed in the study, but his case will be presented at the annual American College of Gastroenterology (an American gastroenterology association) later this month.
The treatment consisted of the application of antifungals and a partial suspension of carbohydrate intake. “About a year and a half later, the patient is in the asymptomatic phase and has resumed his previous lifestyle, including a normal diet, while sporadically checking his alcohol level” in the blood, says the report.
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