While some people may be worried about being charged with drunk driving after consuming alcohol, others need to be concerned even when they have not been drinking. New cases of auto-brewery syndrome have been noted in Texas and other states across the country and are pushing researchers to put more effort into discovering the cause of and cure for this condition.
In 2013, NPR reported that doctors had found a large amount of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast, in the guts of people afflicted with the condition. While most people simply move the yeast through their systems, sufferers of the syndrome have an overabundance of the bacteria that remains in the body. Scientists believe that the yeast creates an internal brewery by causing any sugars or starches to become fermented and form ethanol.
A Texas man who was suspected of being a closet alcoholic after appearing drunk but claiming to have had no alcohol was carefully observed after he checked into an emergency room for dizziness. He was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.37 percent. Doctors monitored him for a full day and found that his levels rose to 1.5 times the legal limit without any alcohol consumption.
In New York, CNN reported on another woman who experienced the same phenomenon. While being observed for just 12 hours, her BAC levels steadily rose until they were quadruple the legal limit despite her being completely sober. A recent charge of DWI was dismissed when it was discovered that her body created its own alcohol from the foods she ate.