In , a 35-year old woman met her husband for dinner and drinks at a Western New York restaurant. Between noon and 6pm, she believes she consumed four alcoholic beverages before leaving the establishment. On her way home, she had a flat tire and was pulled over by police in Hamburg. After passing one field sobriety test but failing another, the woman was arrested for driving under the influence.
But when she underwent a blood alcohol test at a nearby hospital, her BAC was measured at a whopping .30 percent. That's a level that would render most women unconscious (or dead).
A few months later, medical personnel observed the woman over a 12-hour period and took several blood samples at various intervals. Those samples showed BAC results of .279, .379, and even .40 – even though the woman hadn't taken a single sip of alcohol.
How can this be possible? It turns out that the unidentified woman had a rare condition called gut-fermentation syndrome or “auto brewery syndrome.”
Though researchers know relatively little about the condition, auto brewery syndrome sufferers have regular carbohydrates by abnormal amounts of gastrointestinal yeast in her small bowel. So even though the woman didn't consume enough alcohol at the restaurant to impair her, the BAC tests recorded the alcohol in her bloodstream that had been manufactured by her body.