Man gets drunk when he eats because of rare condition (wiki commons)
A Middlesbrough man has described how he gets drunk every time he eats because of a rare condition that turns the food he eats into alcohol.
Matthew Hogg, 34, has auto-brewery syndrome caused by an overgrowth of yeast in his small intestines, which produces pure ethanol that is directly absorbed into his bloodstream.
He was undiagnosed for two decades and spent most of his school years drunk because of the condition.
"Every time I eat bread, potatoes or starchy rice I produce 100 per cent proof drinking alcohol that travels around my body through my bloodstream - if I eat a portion of rice I would suffer a hangover equivalent of having glugged three bottles of red wine the night before," he said.
"I have experienced symptoms from birth and during my childhood there were countless times I suffered 'drunkenness' without having consumed an alcoholic beverage."
Hogg "scraped through" his exams to get a place at university but he dropped out after noticing how he was getting drunk more easily and was suffering severe hangovers after eating.
"I'm usually quite a shy and quiet person and had a lot of friends at school, but there were times when I would act like a raging drunk by saying horrible things to people, slurring words, upsetting people and just stirring up trouble," Hogg said.
Own personal brewary
"Drinking alcohol is now a big no - I already have my own personal brewery and the body was not designed to handle even more alcohol. Plus, why pay someone else when I can make my own special brew?"
Hogg saw specialists from London and Mexico and his family spent £50,000 trying to diagnose his condition. Eventually, tests showed the high levels of ethanol suggesting small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
"I finally recognised I'd been suffering auto-brewery syndrome all these years after reading a book about a Japanese man who was arrested by police for drunk-driving despite insisting he was teetotal," he said.
"It explained that an overgrowth of yeast in the gut could cause this - along with all the symptoms I had suffered for so many years. I now understood that I had my very own brewery in my gut that was poisoning my body and mind."
Hogg now eats a strict diet to manage his condition and he is not able to eat most common foods. He gets by through a combination of vitamins and minerals and has set up a website, Environmental Illness Resource, to help fellow sufferers of auto-brewery syndrome.
"We must typically eat a natural diet based on meat, fish, eggs, seeds and vegetables and drink only pure water and herbal teas" he said.
"This is extremely difficult at first and would no doubt be impossible for most people, yet the consequences of eating a more conventional diet are even worse with a brewery in your gut.
"It's a frightening amount of money we've spent and the fact none of us has been effectively treated as a result is the real kick in the teeth."
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