Did you know, there are people who can get drunk without alcohol?

The holiday season is approaching at a rapid pace and people are preparing to get their party on with a few drinks. But, did you know there are people who get drunk without touching a drop of alcohol?

That’s right, there are people who experience all the side effects of being drunk, without drinking at all. How is this possible?

Auto-brewery syndrome is a rare genetic disorder, which sees people experiencing the side effects of a heavy night’s drinking without the actual drinking.

Peope with auto-brewery syndrome don’t need alcohol to get drunk.


Fermentation in the gut is a normal part of the digestive process.  It happens through the breakdown of food by normal bacteria in the colon. However, in people with auto-brewery syndrome, fermentation happens in the small intestine, further up the digestive tract.

It involves a build-up of yeast in the intestine, where ingesting sugar can suddenly trigger a chemical reaction. This leads to the yeast turning into ethanol, causing a spike in the body’s blood alcohol content. The end result? A drunk person.

Also read: Freaky Friday: Unusual allergies that change people’s lives

That sounds like fun, right? The National Centre for Biotechnology Information notes this disorder as anything but fun.

The centre explains the patient may experience side effects of belching, chronic fatigue syndrome, dizziness, dry mouth, disorientation, hangovers, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Furthermore, diets high in carbohydrates set off the disorder more intensely. This means a person can feel drunk by simply eating a meal. The effects can happen virtually immediately after eating or over a couple of days.

Japanese researchers in the 1970s were apparently the first to look at this rather unusual disorder. However, it wasn’t until a decade ago that the syndrome was properly identified.

Treatment for auto-brewery syndrome involves a change in one’s diet. This requires low carbohydrates and high protein. The diet must also lower sugars in the body, minimising the opportunity for alcohol to ferment from it.

While some might not see the negative side to this syndrome, it can impair an individual’s life and result in the inability to drive and maintain a normal life… Although it could save you money this holiday season.

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