Auto-brewery syndrome and Saccharomyces cerevisiae the brewer's yeast

An elderly American woman has been synthesizing alcohol in her bladder for years. She didn't feel drunk, but she ended up with cirrhosis of the liver and needed an organ transplant.

Auto-brewery syndrome is a uncommon medical condition in which intoxicating amounts of ethanol are produced through internal fermentation within the digestive system.
Auto-brewery syndrome

🔹 Previously, there were cases of alcohol forming in the stomach of patients who had not been sober for several years.

🔹 Understands why the human body produces ethanol and whether it is possible to get rid of an internal brewery like this.

Gut fermentation and the brewery in the urine

In 2019, a 61-year-old woman suffering from diabetes and cirrhosis expected a new organ transplant. But the examination at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital found traces of ethanol in her urine samples.

The doctors suspected that the patient was an alcohol addict and decided to refuse her transplant.

However, additional tests revealed a strange inconsistency: ethanol was present in her urine, but the metabolites - ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate - were not in her blood.

This confirmed the pensioner's assurance that she had not touched alcohol for many years. In addition, experts found large amounts of Candida glabrata glucose and yeast in her urine.

This is considered a natural match for beer yeast. Which means they could easily process body sugar into alcohol, according to doctors.

Especially since a similar case has been described before, but then the increased content of ethanol in the urine found in an already deceased patient. She also had diabetes.

Experts concluded that Candida glabrata settled in the bladder of an elderly American woman, resulting in alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. However, the antifungal treatment did not have much effect. However, the patient can now expect a new liver transplant.

It is not only Candida glabrata that can synthesize ethyl alcohol in the human body. Scientific studies show that under certain conditions microorganisms start to stimulate the production of alcohol directly in the internal organs.

Most of the time this occurs in the intestines, and the main culprits are the fungi Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the bacteria Lactobacillus fermentum and Weissella confusa.

When they form too much ethanol, a person develops what is known as self-fermentation syndrome. It is accompanied by dizziness, nausea, dry mouth and other signs of intoxication.

In addition, these patients have ethyl alcohol in their blood. Therefore, for many years, they are considered drunk and do not seek proper treatment.

This happened to a 46-year-old American who was always in a state of severe intoxication after eating, although he did not touch the alcohol. One day he was even arrested for DUI.

In an attempt to prove himself right, the man went to the doctors. The doctors, for their part, found in his blood not only a high level of alcohol, but also a huge amount of Saccharomyces cerevisiae - brewer's yeast.

The fungi processed the carbohydrates which entered the patient's stomach with the food into ethanol. From then on, ethyl alcohol entered the blood, and that was enough to intoxicate the man.

  • 🔹Scientists believe he had Auto-brewery syndrome after taking antibiotics.

It's not just fungus.

Similar symptoms and high yeast levels have been reported in two other Americans. The first was an elderly man who had been suffering from obscure alcohol intoxication for almost ten years.

The doctors agreed to examine him only after a 24-hour observation, during which they made sure he did not drink. The right antifungal therapy helped him get back to normal.

The second case was a 25-year-old patient with similar long-term problems. His wife sent him to the doctors just to make sure that her husband wasn't secretly drinking alcohol.

The poor man was also helped by antifungal drugs. But to avoid relapses, he now has to follow a special low-carb diet all his life.

But the 27-year-old Chinese man, who also suffers from "Auto-brewery syndrome," was not helped by antifungal therapy. The concentration of these germs in his stomach was almost nine hundred times higher than normal.

As a result, high levels of ethanol were recorded in his blood after sweet, alcohol-free drinks, typical for people in a state of severe intoxication. In addition, the man's liver was fatty and inflamed like that of a chronic alcoholic.

To end the constant intoxication, the patient had to drink the prescribed antibiotics and give up the sweet soda he liked so much.

Scientific sources:

High urine ethanol and negative blood and vitreous ethanol in a diabetic woman: a case report, retrospective case survey, and review of the literature.

  1. Gruszecki AC1, Robinson CA, Kloda S, Brissie RM.
  2. DOI: 10.1097/01.paf.0000154266.15884.84