Auto-brewery syndrome: A medical mixed blessing if I ever heard of one

Don’t discount the scenario of someone choosing to use take their home-brewed, yeast-intensive beer in through the back door, so to speak. Alien thought? To me, sure… but far, far stranger things have happened.

Imagine yeast with a mutation that makes them competitive against our normal gut flora. We could end up with a drunken plague.


How would the mutants pass person-to-person?

Sure we’ll be able to gland beer, but will we be able to gland pretzels?

Pretzels are mostly carb. He’s glanding pretzels into beer.


To amplify my earlier Bah-humbuggery:

  1. The “International Journal of Clinical Medicine” is a SCIRP journal, this being a publishing house where the editorial overview consists of cashing the authors’ cheques; known for previously accepting ‘papers’ generated by random-number software. In this case, editorial overview certainly did not include “proof-reading” – the first typo is in the list of keywords.

  2. The first author – the one pimping out the story with press releases to Fox News, Huffington Post and similar reputable media – is an aromatherapeutic quack. The second author is lying low and saying nothing.

  3. According to a quick education from the University of Google, the possibility of “auto-fermentation syndrome” as an excuse for drunk driving was most recently laughed out of the house in a 2000 review.

MKB was pwned.


Aside from the factors that smut_clyde mentions above: has no one else here ever homebrewed? You need to have the wort (the slurry of malt, hops, water and yeast) in a container, sitting still, so that the yeast can digest the sugar in the malt. The stuff in your intestines is constantly on the move; if it isn’t, you’ve got way bigger problems than an internal yeast infection. My guess is that the guy is a secret drunk.

Given how much carbon dioxide yeast produces when it’s fermenting sugars to alcohol, he must have blown up like a balloon. Or the story’s bogus, one of the two.

Even the stories about elephants getting drunk on fermenting fruit appear not to be substantiated:

I don’t know the journal, but everything I can find on it does indicate that the International Journal of Clinical Medicine is peer reviewed. Also, that aromatherapist, she’s also got a Bachelor of Science and is a registered nurse. Oh and the other author, he’s a Gastroenterologist (or there is another Justin McCarthy, who has worked with a woman from Texas on an article about a condition beginning in the gut).

Bartender! One bowl of Cheerios, neat!

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And now after looking a little deeper I see you’ve done more research than your initial comment. I stand corrected.

UPDATE: this comment replies to comment #17; I had not read Itsumishi’s comment #19 when I wrote it.

everything I can find on it does indicate that the International Journal of Clinical Medicine is peer reviewed

I refer readers to the Whackywedia item on its publisher, [SCIRP][1]. In particular, its imprints are known for [including people on Editorial Boards without telling them][2] (as well as plagiarising content). Yes, the IJCM claims to be peer reviewed, but predatory open-access journals usually do.

Also, that aromatherapist, she’s also got a Bachelor of Science and is a registered nurse.
And she offers training courses in “clinical aromatherapy”.

…in the clinical use of essential oils in their practice. Students
gain knowledge in the application and controlled use of essential oils
for specific, measurable outcomes. This four module course
encompasses the history, core concepts, research and chemistry of
aromatherapy and essential oils with an emphasis on the key concepts
of the use of essential oils within a health care framework. Specific
references for stress, psychoneuroimmunology, inflammation, pain,
insomnia, cancer, AIDS, and women’s health are covered in the course.

Aromatherapy for cancer? I am in awe.

the other author, he’s a Gastroenterologist

His qualifications are not in question. I am unsure how much input he had to the paper… despite being the author with the relevant expertise, he is not the one promoting it with interviews and press releases.

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Home brewers now have these “super feast” varieties that are turbo charged.

I have heard of this autointoxication happening on Native American Reservations where alcoholics use these yeasts to brew high proof wine and beer in nothing but a bucket. it keeps brewing in their guts and they stay drunk for days.

You’re assuming that’s the route the yeast took to get into the intestines. It’s possible that it was introduced from the other end of the digestive tract.

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That was my first thought, too. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that, but people do all kinds of things I don’t understand all the time.

Alcoholics have died from wine enemas. They want to get drunk but like many drunks they have ulcers and their stomachs have perforated and been repaired, so if they drink they will die. So they take a big box wine enema and it works way better than they expected.

You’re referring to Dr Barbara Cordell, PhD, RN, Dean of Nursing at a small college, as “an aromatherapist”. golf clap

Do you also refer to Richard Feynman as “a bongo drummer”?

The sitting still is largely to slow down the fermentation - hence why some people get magnetic stir plates to make really vigorous yeast starters.

Still not quite getting it; the carbohydrates in your gastrointestinal system go away too quickly to ferment.

Ah, I see your point.

Dunno about anyone else but I replenish my GI carbohydrate supply fairly regularly - probably about 5 fairly regularly spaced helpings of carbs a day.