It’s called gut fermentation syndrome or auto-brewery syndrome, and it’s “a relatively unknown phenomenon in Western medicine” according to a study published in July’s International Journal of Clinical Medicine. “Only a few cases have been reported in the last three decades” according to Dr. Barbara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas, and Dr. Justin McCarthy, a Lubbock gastroenterologist, the study’s authors.
The most current case comes courtesy of an unnamed 61-year-old Texas man who for five years seemed to be drunk — all of the time.
His wife, a nurse, began to give him breathalyzer tests. Even when he hadn’t been drinking at all, his blood alcohol content was as high 0.40 — five times the legal driving limit — according to the study.