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'Auto-Brewery' Syndrome Showed One Woman To Be Drunk Without Drinking

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 11:21 AM EST

How on earth does one become drunk without drinking?

One woman was recently arrested for a rare condition called "Auto-Brewery" syndrome, in which the digestive system became a small brewery on its own, said health officials, according to scienceworldreport.

"I had never heard of auto-brewery syndrome before this case," attorney Joseph Marusak said, via CNN. "But I knew something was amiss when the hospital police took the woman and wanted to release her immediately because she wasn't exhibiting any symptoms."

It was interesting that the New York woman was slapped with a DUI hours before she actually took her last drink. A breathalyzer showed her blood alcohol level as above four times the legal limit.

It happened just before Christmas in Hamburg, New York. One judge actually dismissed the charges when he was given proof that she suffered from "auto-brewery syndrome."

While no one is really sure what causes the health issue, they think that it might be something to do with increased levels of "candida".

"I'm in touch with about 30 people who believe they have this same syndrome, about 10 of them are diagnosed with it," said Panola College Dean of Nursing Barbara Cordell, who has studied the syndrome for years. "They can function at alcohol levels such as 0.30 and 0.40 when the average person would be comatose or dying."

What puzzles her is---how could patients of this syndrome still be walking around and talking normally?

"Yeast is normally in the GI tract and the commonality of all these case reports is they have an increased number of candida," Dr. Richard Peek, a professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said, via ABC News. "When [yeast] ingest a meal that has a high amount of carbohydrates, they metabolize the carbohydrates into ethanol."

"These observations show the importance of gastric microbiota or microbiome in altering functions," Peek added. "It really can regulate or cause disease such as irresistible bowel syndrome and it's been linked to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatty liver."

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