Automatic fermentation syndrome: why does it occur?

Automatic fermentation syndrome is a rare condition that has become popular in recent years. It consists of certain microorganisms present in the intestine synthesize alcohol.

For this they carry out fermentation reactions on the carbohydrates in the diet. The result is that the person who suffers from it is drunk or drunk without having consumed any alcoholic beverages.

This may seem interesting and curious, but it has a very negative impact on the life of those who suffer from it. It can even put your life at risk. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know about automatic fermentation syndrome and why it occurs.

What is auto fermentation syndrome?

Automatic fermentation syndrome is also called autobrewery syndrome. This second term gives clues about its characteristics. It is a rare condition, although it could be because it is underdiagnosed.

Intestinal mushrooms convert carbohydrates into alcohol and that is the simplest explanation for the condition. This alcohol passes into the blood, producing a state of intoxication.

That is, it is as if that person was drunk, but without having drunk alcohol. The reason this happens is that certain intestinal fungi would overgrow.

Although it is normal for them to be present in the digestive system in intermediate concentrations, their excess could wreak havoc on health. One of them is this syndrome.

Sometimes automatic fermentation syndrome occurs as a result of consuming a small amount of alcohol. Others, however, there is no trigger. For this reason, the patient can go into a state of intoxication without direct relation to their intake. The same symptoms and signs occur that appear during a binge or hangover.

The problem with this syndrome lies in the microbiota and in the exaggerated fermentation that microorganisms carry out.

Related symptoms

Automatic fermentation syndrome was discovered in 1950. It can affect both children and adults. The symptoms it produces are similar to a common alcohol poisoning (that is, a drunkenness).

For example, disinhibition, increased feelings of well-being and euphoria may appear at first. As the amount of alcohol in the blood increases, dizziness, confusion, decreased reflexes and instability begin.

It is also common for breathing to become more irregular and slow.. Some people vomit, faint, and their body temperature drops significantly. In severe poisoning there are seizures or even an ethyl coma.

As explained by a study published in BMJ Open GastroenterologyIn some cases the first symptoms are limited to mood swings, delusions and a kind of fog in consciousness.

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that automatic fermentation syndrome can have very negative impacts on the life of those who suffer from it. All the symptoms just mentioned lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.

This, in turn, leads to anxiety, low productivity, and depression. In addition, at the social, work and family level the consequences are dire. Everyone will tend to think that the patient is lying and that, in fact, he has consumed alcohol.

The syndrome of automatic fermentation too it is associated with an increased risk of accidents. For example, falls at home or traffic problems. That is why it can have legal repercussions.

Causes of automatic fermentation syndrome

The automatic fermentation syndrome it is caused by an overgrowth of intestinal fungi. In the intestine, in a normal and physiological way, a fermentation process occurs, but here there is an exaggeration.

In pathology, this is not carried out by bacteria, but by fungi. The most associated species are Candida glabrata Y Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Small amounts of alcohol are also produced in normal digestions. However, the liver is responsible for eliminating it, so poisoning never occurs.

The problem is that, in this syndrome, the amounts are high and the liver cannot eliminate alcohol completely. Symptoms of automatic fermentation syndrome increase when foods rich in starch or sugar are eaten.

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Risk factors for suffering it

Scientists have identified a series of factors that increase the risk of suffering from this pathology. For example, Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome. People who have a weakened immune system are also more likely to suffer from it.

Diabetes, obesity and the use of antibiotics are other closely related aspects. The excessive prescription of the latter alters the intestinal bacterial population. For this reason, fungi tend to proliferate more than usual, upsetting the balance.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis of automatic fermentation syndrome can be very complex. It is a rare condition. Also, many people use it as an excuse.

Therefore, the diagnosis must be as accurate as possible. For this, it is essential that the doctor review the medical history and know all the episodes and their characteristics.

However, a series of complementary tests are usually necessary. Especially to try to rule out other diseases that may be associated. Typically, a blood and stool test is ordered.

In this last the proportion of bacteria and fungi can be studied. This shows whether there is a fungal overgrowth.

In some cases, carbohydrate tests are used to provoke and observe an episode. People with auto fermentation syndrome have increased blood alcohol levels after this test.

Lastly, your doctor may order a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy. This test involves inserting a long, thin tube through the anus or mouth. This tube consists of a small camera at the tip that allows you to see the digestive tube inside.

An endoscopy is a useful resource in gastroenterology. It allows direct observation of the mucosa of the digestive tract.

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Treatments for automatic fermentation syndrome

Treatment of automatic fermentation syndrome is difficult. What is tried is to make a series of modifications in the diet. The idea is to reduce or avoid all foods that are very high in carbohydrates.

To do this, you can try to introduce more protein and avoid foods such as white bread or rice. The same goes for pasta, cakes, sweets, and sugary drinks.

It is recommended to maintain such a diet until the symptoms disappear. However, these products should not be abruptly reintroduced at any time.

On the other hand, in some patients drug treatment can be tried. The most used are antifungals, which help reduce the amount of fungi in the intestine. For example, fluconazole, itraconazole, or nystatin.

Antibiotics or higher strength drugs may be recommended if the pathology persists. Some patients even say that probiotic supplements are useful for them. However, its effectiveness has not yet been proven.

Automatic fermentation syndrome can be dangerous

Automatic fermentation syndrome is a rare condition. It consists in the fact that intestinal fungi proliferate excessively. These mushrooms ferment carbohydrates and turn them into alcohol.

Alcohol cannot be eliminated by the liver. So produces binge-like effects without having consumed alcohol. The problem is that the episodes become manifest without the patient expecting it, abruptly.

This can lead to dire consequences, such as falls or accidents. Thus it is important to properly diagnose and treat this syndrome, to avoid complications and the great emotional impact it has.