Close Menu

Man with ‘auto-brewery’ gets drunk on chips

For most a bottle of wine or one too many beers is the common cause of feeling a bit worse for wear, but for one man it’s a plate of chips.

Nick Hess suffers “auto-brewery syndrome” – a rare condition that results in him getting drunk on carbohydrates.

As reported by the BBC, Hess was unable to explain why he would become “goofy and vulgar” after eating a plate of carbs.

Such were the effects that his family thought he must be concealing a drinking problem, his wife searching for hidden bottles of alcohol in their home.

“Every day for a year I would wake up and vomit,” he said. “Sometimes it would come on over the course of a few days, sometimes it was just like ‘bam! I’m drunk’.”

It was his wife who eventually came across a man in the US online who had suffered similar symptoms, which led to Hess being diagnosed with the syndrome. The rare condition is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the gut which turns carbohydrates from food into excess alcohol in the blood – his body essentially producing its own alcohol. Doctors discovered that Hess had 400% more yeast in his gut than was normal.

Numerous cases of auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, have been reported. Anti-fungal drugs and a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar can helpi reduce the symptoms.

“I still have one or two episodes a month,” said  Hess, “but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. I have my wife to thank for that. She carried on searching for an answer when I was ready to give up. I’m so grateful to her.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No