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    Diagnosing Auto-Brewery Syndrome

    The most common question about ABS I hear is
    ‘How does someone know they have Auto-Brewery?” The best way to know is to buy a DOT approved breathalyzer and test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when you feel drunk. Now, if you’ve been drinking, it doesn’t count, of course, but if you haven’t had anything to drink, and your BAC is elevated, there’s definitely a problem.

    If you are trying to prove you have ABS to someone else, like law enforcement, your family, etc., it may be a little harder. A primary provider (MD, Nurse Practitioner, DO, etc.) would need to admit you to a hospital for a 24 hour observation without alcohol and try and re-create the triggers that cause the drunkenness, such as a high carbohydrate diet (sugar, pasta, corn or your particular triggers). A breathalyzer may be used and/or blood would be drawn every few hours to document a rise in blood alcohol levels if it happens. Some people report episodes only every few days so it may or may not happen in the hospital. Prior to the hospital challenge, a detailed history should be taken and stool samples should be sent for yeast testing and identification.

    Other symptoms of yeast overgrowth include itchy, flaky skin, toe fungus, athlete’s foot, dandruff and other signs. Many people with ABS experience gastric upset such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, belching, and/or gas.

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  • Posted by Chris on March 10, 2018, 12:37 am

    My wife is ready to leave me because she thinks I am drinking behind her back… although I am not. (Yes… I have a history). What now?

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    • Posted by Robin on November 16, 2018, 5:55 pm
      in reply to Chris

      I think my husband has this and it’s so incredibly difficult to deal with especially since his ex is trying to get money from us and he can’t work and we’re about to lose our house now. If you want to contact me that would be fine.

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  • Posted by Peggy Penney on May 18, 2018, 2:17 pm

    My husband and I are social drinkers, but on a day where he relaxes all day and doesn’t eat regularly, he shows these symptoms of being drunk. I have accused him of drinking and he has denied it. I almost have myself convinced that he smells of alcohol to some point. It’s very scary and I’m afraid my husband may be having mini strokes rather than ABS.

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  • Posted by Mark Scott on December 20, 2018, 7:24 pm

    My mother has had this problem `for several years. She does not smoke or drink. Both of my parents are active, but my mother depends on my father for rides to play bridge etc. They generally depend on his SUV for travel. Even though she has a brand new car with only 300 miles on it. I know she is miserable, and I am doing everything I know to do. I do have research skills but I seem to be getting nowhere . Any ideas out there.

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  • Posted by Enor Andrew Rowe on December 31, 2019, 1:14 am

    I have suspected auto-brewery syndrome in myself ever since I heard of it many years ago, even though at that time it was presented as sort of a rare occurrence and quack diagnosis like tooth amalgam removal services or testimonies of most folks avoiding gluten (which is used in making keto bread, so benefits of avoiding gluten are prolly the same benefits of a low-carb diet, since the gluten-free products are so distasteful I bet folks just end up avoiding grain altogether!)

    My reasons? Under the influence of the old “🍕food pyramid” released the year I graduated high school, (1977) and earlier, HS coaches who suggested “Carbo-Loading”, and anti-western, anti-American scholars who told me in college to eat grain & pulse, NOT dairy, egg or meat, I self-righteously ate LOTS of starch, feeling bad at a smorgasbord if I didn’t load up on cheap starch & take small protein / fat portions!

    I have fallen asleep behind-the-wheel and rear-ended cars TWICE; & until Keto diet, could not help much on long road trips over maybe 90 min driving time… I think I was an auto-intoxicated drink from late HS until age 60 when I took on the Keto diet after one daughter lost 80 Lb quickly on it & another daughter lost over 40 Lb; one in her 30’s, the other 18 Yrs! I’d thought the Atkins diet was Hollywood bunk until I found out by losing 28 Lb quickly and easily by eating all the brisket, eggs, & bacon plus veggies (not potatoes or sweet potatoes!)… and I know why my Dad, a physicist, used to avoid candy, even at Christmas, ate eggs and coffee for breakfast even during the height of the sugar-industry, lobby-inspired, Democratic-nation-hating ANTI EGG / ANTI-dairy hate era of my young adulthood.

    I have no desire to “toke up” on carbs test my hypothesis; 9 months on Keto, I can tell by improved odour, have changed my gut bacteria anyway: but I may try it anyway, as I just ordered a Bac-Trac keychain breathalyzer for an employee who favors whiskey – so I can decide whether to employ him on any given morning. Thanks for your article, and I’ll get back if I test myself. As of now, NO MORE 64 oz pure sugar soda, or half-loaves of French bread, or Sunday donuts purchases for my church as I used to do! – and felt self-righteous when I did! And my asthma is gone when I’m on Keto / Low Carb!!! Amazing- sugar inflames arteries, bronchioles, and misbehaving children alike, I’ve seen!

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