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What you need to know about Auto-Brewery Syndrome

When it comes to driving under the influence, some people are at a higher risk of intoxication than others. New studies have shed light on a condition called Auto-Brewery Syndrome, which causes a person's body to actually produce alcohol. Gaining an insight into this condition can lead court officials and lawmakers to a greater understanding of factors besides drinking that can affect a driver's blood alcohol concentration.

How it happens

While many people take Saccharomyces cerevisiae, more commonly known as Brewer's Yeast, as a health supplement, researchers have found that the bacteria can sometimes lead to problems. Instead of passing through the gut as intended, certain conditions can lead to an overgrowth. Patients who have recently taken antibiotics are found to be susceptible because the good stomach bacteria are killed off and allows an abundance of the yeast to exist.

Once the bacteria becomes established, it begins to feed off of any sugars or starches that the person consumes. As it eats, it converts the sugars into ethanol and creates an internal brewery inside of the body. People with this condition can become intoxicated from the food they eat without ever taking a drink.

Documented cases

Researchers have found several cases documented in various countries under different names, but recent findings have pushed the condition into the public spotlight. One case involved a man in Texas who was presumed to be a closet alcoholic because he frequently got drunk but claimed he was not drinking. After he checked into the emergency room for dizziness and doctors found his blood alcohol concentration was elevated despite his claims of sobriety, he was isolated in an observation room for 24 hours. Without consuming any alcohol, his levels showed increases of up to 0.12 percent, 1.5 times the legal limit.

Another recent case occurred in New York where a woman was taken to the hospital after a breath analyzer revealed her estimated BAC had reached a dangerously high level of 0.4 percent. A blood test at the hospital revealed her levels to be 0.3 percent, but she was exhibiting no symptoms. After observation, researchers found that the alcohol concentration in her body increased without any alcohol consumption.

Getting help

While doctors are still working on a cure, some patients show improvement with anti-fungal treatment and a low-carb diet. For drivers who were convicted of a DUI but did not believe they were intoxicated, Auto-Brewery Syndrome may be the answer. If you have found yourself in this situation, contact an experienced lawyer who can work with your doctor to prove your innocence and fight for your righ ts.

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