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Man's stomach was brewing its own beer

• By The Washington Post

His blood alcohol level was 0.2, more than twice the legal limit for operating a car. He refused a breathalyzer test, was hospitalized and later released. But the facts remained in contention.

Then researchers discovered the unusual truth: Fungi in the man's digestive system was turning carbohydrates into alcohol - a rarely diagnosed condition known as "auto-brewery syndrome."

In people with the syndrome, fermenting fungi or bacteria in the gut produce ethanol and can cause the patients to show signs of drunkenness. The condition, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, can occur in otherwise healthy people but is more common in patients with diabetes, obesity or Crohn's disease.

"A person is intoxicated from this fermenting yeast, and it's a horrible illness," said Barbara Cordell, a researcher of auto-brewery syndrome and the author of "My Gut Makes Alcohol."

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