A 61-year-old Texas man stumbled into the emergency room completely inebriated, yet he claimed he hadn’t had any alcohol. He was given a breathalyzer test and it revealed that the drunk man had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.37 percent, nearly five times the legal limit for driving in Texas. The medical staff dismissed the man to just be a drunkard. However the man continued to seek help for his mysterious intoxication. Barabara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College and Dr. Justin McCarthy were willing to investigate his curious case and isolated the man in a hospital room for a full 24 hours. During his stay the man had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent from eating food.
From Huffington Post:
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.
My first reaction is “Wow! What a lucky bastard!” I started thinking about how much money he would save on alcohol. How he wouldn’t have to fill up on crappy beers to get a buzz. Then I started realizing that he couldn’t eat a turkey club sandwich at work because everyone would think he went out and got plastered from a liquid lunch. Then what happens when you get drunk? You need to eat. This poor man’s post-drinking greasy fried food meal would only fuel more drunkenness. However getting a little tipsy off some Munchkins might make anyone’s day better.