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TX Man Brews Beer In His Belly After Contracting Rare Infection

Update Date: Sep 19, 2013 12:32 PM EDT

A 61-year-old man from Texas can get drunk without drinking alcohol. At first doctors didn't believe the former home brewer when he showed up at a nearby hospital complaining about feeling drunk.

A breath test revealed that the man was almost five times over the legal limit, but the man insisted that he hadn't had anything to drink that day. Doctors were puzzled, but dismissed the man as being a closet alcoholic.

However, a team of gastroenterologists wanted to understand the man's condition. To do this, they isolated the man in an alcohol-free hospital room for 24 hours. The man was fed a carbohydrate-rich diet and underwent regular blood alcohol checks After a series of tests, doctors found that the man was telling the truth. Researchers found that the man's intestinal tract was acting like an internal brewery, according to NPR.

Researchers explained that the man seemed to have a build up of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in his intestinal tract, and when he ate carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta and bagels, the yeast started fermenting in his gut.

The condition called "gut fermentation syndrome" or "auto-brewery syndrome" causes starch to ferment sugar and produce ethanol.

The rare condition can happen after people take antibiotics, according to NPR.  Wiping out all the bacteria in a person's stomach provides an opportunity for yeast to grow and multiply.

According to Business Insider, the man's home brewery, which contained a lot of live yeast, might also have had something to do with his condition.

The man later recovered after being fed a low-carbohydrate diet and a regimen of antifungals.

The findings are published in the journal Alcohol in Health and Disease

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