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Could auto-brewery syndrome be responsible for your DUI?

While drinking and driving in Virginia are never okay, there are some people who find themselves with a DUI citation when they have been drinking very little, or maybe even nothing at all. This situation may sound unbelievable, but NPR reports that recent cases across the country have shed new light on a condition being termed auto-brewery syndrome. If you have received a DUI and do not believe you ingested enough alcohol to surpass the legal limit, you may be suffering from this syndrome.


First, it is important to understand how internal brewing can happen. Researchers have found that the guts of some people are full of brewer’s yeast, a type of bacteria that converts starches into alcohol. While this normally passes through your digestive system, those with auto-brewery syndrome often have an overgrowth. As you eat sugars or any other starches, your intoxication level can rise.


One problem with identifying this condition is that you may have had a small amount of alcohol, but the brewer’s yeast will use that to create more alcohol and increase your blood alcohol concentration above where it would naturally be. This can cause some people to believe they got intoxicated solely because of the alcohol they drank.


Since patients with this condition are constantly at some level of intoxication, they have fewer symptoms at high BAC levels than other drivers would. This can make it difficult to determine if you have the condition or not. This information is intended as education and should not be taken as legal advice.

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