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'Auto-Brewery' Syndrome Helped This Woman Beat DUI Charges

First Posted: Dec 31, 2015 09:01 PM EST
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"These observations show the importance of gastric microbiota or microbiome in altering functions," Peek said. "It really can regulate or cause disease such as irresistible bowel syndrome and it's been linked to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatty liver."Can anyone actually become drunk without drinking?

That's what happened to a woman who was recently arrested for a rare condition known as "Auto-Brewery" syndrome, in which the digestive system actually becomes its own tiny brewery, according to health officials.

"I had never heard of auto-brewery syndrome before this case," attorney Joseph Marusak said, via CNN. "But I knew something was amiss when the hospital police took the woman to wanted to release her immediately because she wasn't exhibiting any symptoms."

The upstate New York woman was charged with a DUI hours before she had a her last drink. Yet when she took a breathalyzer, her blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit, according to CNN.

Just before Christmas in Hamburg, New York, a judge dismissed the charges after being presented with evidence the woman suffers from "auto-brewery syndrome."

Although health officials are not entirely certain what causes the health issue, they believe it may have something to do with increased levels of candida.

"Yeast are normally in the GI tract and the commonality of all these case reports is they have an increased number of candida," Dr. Richard Peek, a professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said, via ABC News. "When [yeast] ingest a meal that has a high amount of carbohydrates, they metabolize the carbohydrates into ethanol."

"These observations show the importance of gastric microbiota or microbiome in altering functions," Peek added. "It really can regulate or cause disease such as irresistible bowel syndrome and it's been linked to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatty liver."

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