His microbe-brewery was working overtime.
Doctors claim they’ve made medical history after successfully employing a controversial fecal transplant to “cure” a Belgian man whose digestive system was making him drunk. Now, this approach might become “standard therapy for gut fermentation syndrome,” said the team behind the stinky study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The 47-year-old man had reported to the hospital after experiencing inexplicable bouts of intoxication for months following a course of antibiotics, reports Science Alert. His blood-alcohol level was more than twice the US legal limit — despite the fact that he had reportedly not had a drink in four days.
As it turns out, the man suffered from auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), which is caused when gut bacteria convert recently consumed carbohydrates into alcohol, rendering the carrier drunk. And while most of us harbor these microscopic moonshiners in small quantities, the man’s condition spun out of control as the antibiotics had thrown his gut balance off-kilter.
Despite doctors prescribing heavy doses of anti-fungals and a low-carb diet, the accidental alcoholic still felt inebriated. His condition became so bad that his wife smelled booze on his breath, and he was even ticketed for drunk driving at a police checkpoint, researchers report.
So, doctors proposed a novel way to cure his inadvertent intoxication — through a poo infusion traditionally only used for certain infections. Despite the potentially fatal side effects, the man decided to go through with the fecal transplant, and used a stool sample provided by his 22-year-old daughter.
The unconventional hangover remedy worked like a charm, docs say. Three years since the procedure, the patient remains asymptomatic, and his blood-alcohol levels have returned to normal, according to the study. He even got his driver’s license back.
The results were so promising that the research team advises “other clinicians who have patients with gut fermentation syndrome to consider treatment with fecal microbiota transplantation, especially if more traditional therapy has failed.”
On a side note, the patient says he enjoys getting tipsy — but only when he wants to.
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