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Soy Sauce Overdose: Teenager Left Unconscious but what Causes It?

Update Date: Jun 07, 2013 03:19 PM EDT

Soy sauce overdose is not something that you hear often, however that is exactly what happened to a 19-year-old teenager in 2011 after he swallowed a whole quart of the salty condiment, resulting in an overdose which lasted 5 hours.

The soy sauce overdose report published online June 4 in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, did not reveal the identity of the teenager, but said the high sodium intake caused him to pass out and slip into a coma. The teenager was at a University of Virginia frat party when he was asked to drink the soy sauce as part of his initiation. He obliged and soon afterwards, began foaming at the mouth and convulsing. He was rushed to hospital where he was given a solution of sugar water to balance out the high sodium levels.

The man's sodium levels returned to normal after about five hours. He remained in a coma for three days, but woke up on his own.

According to court documents released around the time of the soy sauce overdose, the teenager reacted tby convulsing and foaming at the mouth and was rushed to the hospital by a frat member.

The soy sauce overdose caused the teenager to suffer from hypernatremia, which is when the blood contains a high concentration of sodium. This can cause water from the brain to fill the bloodstream in order to make everything balanced. As a result, the organ can shrink and bleed out.

Dr. David J. Carlberg treated the teenager by flushing his body out with sugar water which balanced out the high sodium levels.

 "He didn't respond to any of the stimuli that we gave him. He had some clonus, which is just elevated reflexes. It's a sign that basically the nervous system wasn't working very well," Dr. Carlberg explained.

He added, "We were more aggressive than had been reported before in terms of bringing his sodium back down to a safer range."

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