It is known as "auto-brewery syndrome," and a team of researchers from Panola College in Carthage, Texas, has confirmed that some people develop it as a result of taking pharmaceutical antibiotics, which kill off all their gut flora and leave them prone to yeast takeover. This is exactly what happened to the unnamed man from Texas, who reportedly developed the condition after taking antibiotics following an earlier surgery.
According to NPR, the man stumbled into an emergency room one day complaining of drunkenness, even though he had not drunk any alcohol that day. Hospital staff confirmed that the man had a blood alcohol level of 0.37, which is five times the legal limit in Texas, despite not having imbibed. So they notified researchers Barbara Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy, who several months later brought the man back into the hospital for testing.
Published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine (IJCM), their findings came as a bit of a shock -- the man was essentially distilling his own liquor inside his gut whenever he consumed any carbohydrate-rich foods, which include things like bread, pasta and soda pop. According to reports, the carbohydrates from these foods combined with sugar and S. cerevisiae to create ethanol in the man's digestive tract, which in turn would make him drunk.
"He would get drunk out of the blue -- on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just any time," explained Cordell during a recent interview with NPR. "His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyzer."