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Case report and literature review of auto-brewery syndrome: probably an underdiagnosed medical condition
  1. Fahad Malik,
  2. Prasanna Wickremesinghe,
  3. Jessie Saverimuttu
  1. Internal Medicine, Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Fahad Malik; fahadimalik{at}


Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rarely diagnosed medical condition in which the ingestion of carbohydrates results in endogenous alcohol production. The patient in this case report had fungal yeast forms in the upper small bowel and cecum, which likely fermented carbohydrates to alcohol. Treatment with antifungal agents allowed subsequent ingestion of carbohydrates without symptoms. He had been exposed to a prolonged course of antibiotics before this occurred. We postulate that the antibiotic altered his gut microbiome, allowing fungal growth. This diagnosis should be considered in any patient with positive manifestations of alcohol toxicity who denies alcohol ingestion. The aim of this case report was confirmation and treatment of ABS using a standardised carbohydrate challenge test followed by upper and lower endoscopy to obtain intestinal secretions to detect fungal growth. These fungi were speciated and antifungal sensitivity performed. This allowed the use of appropriate therapy. The patient was kept on a carbohydrate-free diet during the initial 6-week period of therapy. A single-strain probiotic for competitive inhibition of fungal growth was given to the patient. This probiotic was later replaced by a multistrain bacterial probiotic hoping that the multiple bacteria would inhibit fungi better than a single-strain. The beneficial role of probiotics in this condition has not been studied. The patient was rechallenged for endogenous alcohol production prior to reintroducing carbohydrates in his diet.

  • intestinal microflora
  • antibiotics
  • probiotics
  • alcohol

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  • Contribution FM and PW planned, conducted, and wrote the manuscript. JS and PW edited and supervised the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.