WEIRD NEWS
09/18/2013 09:49 am ET Updated Sep 18, 2013

Man Gets Drunk On Food - Without A Drop Of Alcohol, Doctors Say

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Who needs home brewing when you have a beer belly like this?

Doctors didn't believe a 61-year-old Texas home brewer who came into an emergency room completely hammered, saying that he hadn't had a sip of booze, NPR reports. But he was telling the truth.

When nurses ran a breathalyzer test, the patient had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in the state. Despite claims that he hadn't touched any alcohol all day, he was dismissed as being a closet drinker. In fact, it was his own body producing the booze.

"He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime," said Barabara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College.

Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy decided to take on the bizarre case, isolating the man in a hospital room for a full 24 hours. During the isolation, the man ate carbohydrate-rich foods and ended up with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent.

The man's belly was brewing booze due to a buildup of Saccharomyces cerevisiae -- a common yeast -- in his gut, Cordell discovered. When he ate or drank starch-heavy foods, including bagels, pasta and soda, the yeast in his belly fermented the sugars into ethanol.

NPR reports that the rare buildup can happen after patients take antibiotics. Killing all the bacteria in one's stomach paves the way for yeast the grow and thrive. Another contributing factor may have been his home-brewery, which would have required the man to keep plenty of live yeast around, according to Business Insider.

Cordell and McCarthy recently published their case in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine. The man's treatment was a heaping helping of anti-fungals and a low-carb diet, according to the study.

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