Rare yeast in man's gut brews beer when he eats carbohydrates

Saturday, October 05, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: yeast overgrowth, auto-brewery syndrome, carbohydrates

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(NaturalNews) There is a lot of talk these days about candida and the role that carbohydrates and sugars play in fueling this systemic and highly damaging form of yeast overgrowth. Well, now another type of yeast strain, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is making headlines after a 61-year-old man from Texas discovered that his gut was literally manufacturing alcohol every time he consumed carbohydrates due to the fermentation action of S. cerevisiae mixing with carbs and sugar.

It is known as "auto-brewery syndrome," and a team of researchers from Panola College in Carthage, Texas, has confirmed that some people develop it as a result of taking pharmaceutical antibiotics, which kill off all their gut flora and leave them prone to yeast takeover. This is exactly what happened to the unnamed man from Texas, who reportedly developed the condition after taking antibiotics following an earlier surgery.

According to NPR, the man stumbled into an emergency room one day complaining of drunkenness, even though he had not drunk any alcohol that day. Hospital staff confirmed that the man had a blood alcohol level of 0.37, which is five times the legal limit in Texas, despite not having imbibed. So they notified researchers Barbara Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy, who several months later brought the man back into the hospital for testing.

Published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine (IJCM), their findings came as a bit of a shock -- the man was essentially distilling his own liquor inside his gut whenever he consumed any carbohydrate-rich foods, which include things like bread, pasta and soda pop. According to reports, the carbohydrates from these foods combined with sugar and S. cerevisiae to create ethanol in the man's digestive tract, which in turn would make him drunk.

"He would get drunk out of the blue -- on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just any time," explained Cordell during a recent interview with NPR. "His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyzer."

The man, who at first was assumed by other doctors to be a "closet" drinker, was eventually cured of his condition after being put on a low-carb diet and taking anti-fungal medications to purge his body of S. cerevisiae. But his case now serves as an example of what can happen to a person when taking conventional antibiotics -- the body's delicate microbial ecosystem can undergo drastic changes that leave it prone to takeover by harmful yeast strains.

"This is a rare syndrome, but should be recognized because of the social implications such as loss of job, relationship difficulties, stigma, and even possible arrest and incarceration," wrote the researchers in their report. "It would behoove health care providers to listen more carefully to the intoxicated patient who denies ingesting alcohol."

Avoiding antibiotics and supplementing with probiotics can help you avoid developing a yeast overgrowth

The case also serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of maintaining balanced gut flora. Your immune system depends on the natural microbes in your gut to prevent such yeast overgrowths from ever occurring, and antibiotics tend to destroy these microbes. This is why it is vitally important to regularly consume probiotic-rich foods and avoid "dead" and processed foods, antibiotics and other gut destroyers.

"[I]f you have ever taken antibiotics or eaten a heavily 'white' and 'beige' food diet (refined flours, processed sugars, etc.) you've filled your colon with bacteria and fungi that are sending abnormal chemical messages into your bloodstream 24 hours a day," writes Dr. Steven R. Gundry in his book Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That are Killing You -- And Your Waistline -- And Drop the Weight for Good. "To repopulate with beneficial bacteria, avoid these foods and take a probiotic that includes several of the normal bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. salivarius, (and) Bifidobacterium bifidum."

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