Auto-brewery syndrome is also known as gut fermentation syndrome. It occurs when fungi or bacteria within the gut produce ethanol by endogenous fermentation. Several different strains may be involved.
This occurs in small amounts during normal digestion. However, the fermenting bacteria can become pathogenic. That is when auto-brewery syndrome occurs. As a result, blood alcohol levels rise to extreme quantities.
This condition is very rarely diagnosed. However, doctors suspect it is much more common than the diagnosis numbers and is simply missed most of the time.
The symptoms are very similar to intoxication. However, patients have had no alcohol. Instead, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates is often reported.
Auto-Brewery Syndrome Risk
This condition is much more common in individuals who have one of the following conditions-
- Crohn’s disease
- Intestinal obstruction
- Liver dysfunction
That said, it can also occur in healthy individuals.
It is emphasized that patients who may have this condition should be evaluated further. This evaluation of the patient should include the below items-
- A full physical
- Family history
- Documentation of diet
- Blood alcohol level
- Stool culture
- Metabolic panel
- Carbohydrate challenge
- Elimination of any other potential conditions such as a head injury
- An upper and lower endoscopy
You can read more about this condition and who may be at risk for Auto-brewery syndrome here.