People who have ever wondered if the results of a breath or blood test designed to measure a person’s blood alcohol content are always accurate should learn about a rare medical condition called auto brewery syndrome. This condition may result in a person’s test showing that they are legally intoxicated, but that does not mean that the test accurately indicates that they have been drinking alcohol.
What is auto brewery syndrome?
Simply put, auto brewery syndrome is a medical condition in which a person’s body brews its own alcohol, even when they have not consumed alcohol in any form. According to Healthline, every body’s gastrointestinal tract has some fungus but when certain fungi manage to increase to high levels, they can ferment and create alcohol.
The condition may cause a person who has not had even one sip of alcohol having a high blood alcohol content or it may cause a person who has had only one drink to end up with a BAC that is excessive for the little amount of alcohol actually consumed.
One man’s story
USA Today reported on the case of a man who struggled for many years to get people to believe that he was not an alcoholic. During this time, he was even erroneously charged with a drunk driving offense. Finally, his ABS was diagnosed and traced back to the use of antibiotics that altered the natural flora balance in his GI tract. After that, when he consumed sweet or carbohydrate-rich foods or beverages, his body would use those to create alcohol. He required lengthy treatment to cure his condition.