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Man Intoxicated by Own Stomach

“Auto-brewery syndrome” sounds like a drive-through for alcoholics, but for a small, underdiagnosed portion of the general population, it’s just as dangerous. Not only can it expose you to significant health risks, but those who have it are often accused of being lazy, undisciplined, or flat-out lying. Auto-brewery syndrome is a medical condition where certain fungi in the digestive system begin converting carbohydrates into alcohol, causing a person to inadvertently intoxicate themselves.

In November, a 46-year-old man was arrested for driving under the influence. Even though he swore he never had any alcohol, his blood-alcohol-content was over twice the legal limit for driving a vehicle. The man ended up participating in a medical research study at Richmond University Medical Center in New York.

Nick Hess faced a similar predicament. He says his auto-brewery syndrome means he’s constantly vacillating between feeling drunk and hung over. When he started showing symptoms, his wife didn’t believe that he hadn’t been drinking, so she started recording security footage of him while she was gone for the day. She was surprised to find out that all he was doing was playing video games. Hess said, “She would watch me wake up and sit on that couch from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep and progressively get more and more drunk.”

Medical researcher Barbara Cordell wrote a book called My Gut Makes Alcohol. While it’s not a common problem, Cordell thinks it’s still underdiagnosed in the general public. If anyone suspects they might have auto-brewery syndrome, she says they should have their blood alcohol levels tested, and seek treatment for alcohol poisoning, as levels can reach up to five times the legal limit.

Possible Preaching Angle: Our bodies are currently suffering from the consequences of the Fall and can betray us. We are eagerly waiting for the transformation of our bodies and the redemption of all things (Rom. 8:23, Phil. 3:21).

Source: Marisa Iati, “He was acting drunk but swore he was sober. Turns out his stomach was brewing its own beer” The Washington Post (10-30-19)

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