Rare condition intoxicates without alcohol

CARTHAGE, TX - September 23, 2013

Dr. Barbara Cordell of Panola College was approached by the man's wife.

She was worried because he smelled like alcohol and acted drunk, but swore he'd never had a drink.

"He was dizzy and feeling unusual. his wife, is actually a nurse and she was suspicious that he smelled like alcohol and seemed like it he was drunk or intoxicated," Dr. Cordell said.

"He said he hadn't been drinking. She believed him, I believed him so we really tried to figure out what was going on with him," she added.

Cordell, a nursing professor, found some articles on 'auto brewery syndrome,' also called gut fermentation syndrome.

Dr. Cordell says, "They (the articles) were talking about the possibility of a yeast infection that was causing fermentation in the intestines and having the patient or patients - a number were cited - where they were actually intoxicated."

It turns out that during a 24-hour observation, they found that trouble processing glucose paired with a high-carb diet raised the patient's blood alcohol concentration to .12, well over the .08 legal limit.

They found brewer's yeast - which is used to make beer, growing in his intestines.

An anti-yeast medication has cleared the problem up.

The patient is staying anonymous.

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