The term "beer belly" has a whole new meaning after doctors discovered a patient was able to ferment alcohol in his stomach without taking a sip of booze.
It’s called gut fermentation syndrome or auto-brewery syndrome, and according to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine it’s a relatively unknown phenomenon.
On Friday, Fox News and other media outlets reported about the story. Doctors who wrote the study on this rare illness say only a few cases have been reported in the last three decades.
The most recent case was a 61-year-old Texas man who for five years seemed to be always drunk.
His wife, a nurse, began to give him breathalyzer tests. Even when he hadn’t had a drink his blood alcohol level was as high as 0.40 - five times the legal limit.
But Gut Fermentation Syndrome is not widely known by doctors, so they thought he was a secret drinker.
Finally, after a 24-hour watch period at a gastroenterology practice doctors figured his stomach was turning food into booze.The man had an overgrowth of yeast in his gut where it ferments carbohydrates into ethanol.
After he took antifungal medication, his yeast went down and so did his blood alcohol level.