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A man diagnosed with a rare condition that was turning his food into alcohol was only cured when he underwent a poo transplant.
The 47-year-old man, who has not been named, decided to seek medical help after noticing he was feeling drunk at random intervals throughout the day – even without consuming alcohol.
He was quickly diagnosed with auto-brewery syndrome – a rare condition that causes your body to turn sugar and carbohydrates into alcohol – and doctors prescribed him with anti-fungal medications typically effective for this condition.
He was also advised to stick to a low-carb diet, a method usually recommended to patients with this condition since fewer carbs in your system means less sugar for the yeast to convert to alcohol. However, nothing worked and doctors were left stumped.
Almost two months of following a strict low-carb diet and four weeks of medication proved unsuccessful, with the patient continuing to experience periodic, accidental drunkenness.
In fact, it got so bad that at one point the 47-year-old got pulled over by police while driving one day and, after taking a breathalyser test, had his driving licence taken away from him after police believed him to be driving drunk.
Doctors were able to transfer the fecal microbiota, the bacteria present in faeces, into the patient’s small intestine. And now, 34 months later, the man continues to be symptom-free.
The transplant was taken from the patient’s 22-year-old daughter, and according to the study’s authors it is ‘the first successful treatment of a patient with chronic gut fermentation syndrome by using fecal microbiota transplantation’.
As noted in the case study, the man only started experiencing these symptoms in his mid-40s, so then how did it all come to light?
Well, since blood sugar levels fuel the yeast-driven booze production, certain people can be particularly susceptible to auto-brewery syndrome, including those with diabetes and cirrhosis.
The man had none of those conditions, but he had recently completed a course of antibiotics and had a gastric bypass surgery years earlier, both of which can disturb naturally-occurring gut microbes and create an imbalance, and can therefore make a person more susceptible to the rare syndrome.
Thankfully the man in question was able to resolve his symptoms with such a transplant, which will hopefully pave the way for others suffering with the same condition.
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