Self-brewing Syndrome Overview

Self Brewing Syndrome

In the auto-brewery syndrome is a rare intestinal disease in which microbiology of the gut is disturbed and yeasts so proliferate, they put a fermentation process in motion, the carbohydrates in liver-damaging alcohols such as butanol, methanol and ethanol converts. The alcohol enters the bloodstream directly and causes high alcohol levels and alcohol intoxication. The victim is drunk without taking a sip of alcohol.

What is Self Brewing Syndrome?

According to healthknowing, the self-brewing syndrome causes an alcohol intoxication due to the body’s own yeast fungi, which convert carbohydrates into alcohol. The patients are drunk even without drinking alcohol. It is a rare intestinal disease in which the bacterial composition in the digestive organ is disturbed. If left untreated, this disease can lead to irreparable to fatal liver damage such as cirrhosis, fatty liver and carcinogenic breakdown products.


Self-brewing syndrome can be triggered by taking antibiotics and the carbohydrates found in many foods. Antibiotics, which are often the first choice of treatment, can seriously disrupt the variety of intestinal bacteria that are essential for survival and thus upset the equilibrium in the colon. These bacteria are responsible for proper post-digestion.

The balance of the intestinal flora is upset and the resulting yeasts start a fermentation process that converts carbohydrates into alcohol that goes directly into the bloodstream. The person affected shows increased alcohol levels in the blood and a corresponding behavior that is apparently due to increased alcohol consumption.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

Often, carbohydrate foods like chips and pasta are responsible for the alcohol intoxication. Patients feel nauseous and have abdominal cramps. Like a drunk, they move unsteadily, attract attention with uncoordinated movements and sometimes have difficulty articulating themselves correctly.

Since the alcohol produced by the yeast gets directly into the bloodstream, an alcohol intoxication is triggered. This behavior, which seems to be attributable to excessive alcohol consumption, can be associated with the typical risks of alcoholisation in various everyday situations, for example in traffic or driving machines. Furthermore, psychosocial burdens can arise due to ostracism of the social environment or criminal prosecution.

Diagnosis & course

Yeast fungi in the intestine convert carbohydrates into alcohol and thus trigger an alcohol intoxication. To put it simply, the patient has a brewery under his belt and produces his own beer. The self-brewing syndrome occurs predominantly in people whose intestines have already been damaged as a result of an illness or antibiotic treatment, because a healthy intestine is usually immune to harmful bacteria and yeasts.

The person concerned suffers from an alcohol intoxication. The diagnosis is first made using a blood test that shows high alcohol levels, which seem to confirm the assumption of excessive alcohol consumption. Before the final diagnosis, patients begin to suffer when others accuse them of increased alcohol abuse or describe them as secret alcoholics.

This bowel disease usually occurs slowly, but sometimes suddenly from one second to the next. Since there is still no conclusive medical explanation for this strange clinical picture, the attending physician has to conduct a detailed discussion with the patient after evaluating the blood sample in order to find out in which situations this alcohol intoxication occurs more frequently.

If the patient reports that they have previously undergone prolonged antibiotic treatment or that this condition always occurs after consuming certain foods, the doctor will receive a tip that leads them to the self-brewing syndrome. No other intestinal disease or food allergy triggers such an intoxication.

The attending physician should consult a gastroenterologist who will examine the gastrointestinal tract and take a stool sample. If traces of yeast are found, there is a fungal infection with which the yeast gain the upper hand over the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, convert carbohydrates into alcohol and thus trigger the patient’s intoxication.

When should you go to the doctor?

If after consuming carbohydrate foods you suddenly experience a kind of alcohol frenzy, this indicates self-brewing syndrome. The typical warning signs – an unsteady gait, uncoordinated movements and problems with articulation – should be clarified immediately. The doctor can usually determine the self-brewing syndrome quickly and initiate appropriate treatment immediately. The chances of recovery are good, provided that the disease is recognized early.

However, if the bowel disease is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications. The risk of accidents increases considerably in everyday life and there are often psychological complaints as well. Since carbohydrates can be found in various foods, the self-brewing syndrome is also difficult to control.

For this reason alone, the following applies: see a doctor at the first signs of the unusual illness. Further contact persons are the gastroenterologist and specialists for internal medicine. Anyone who feels uncomfortable after eating pasta, noodles and the like should be driven to the nearest hospital. In severe cases, an emergency doctor must be called.

Treatment & Therapy

Once the self-brewing syndrome has been finally diagnosed, the patient must adhere to a strict diet that excludes the consumption of foods and drinks containing carbohydrates such as noodles, pasta, french fries, bread and cola. In this way, a renewed fermentation process in the intestine is prevented. In addition, the patient must take a fungal treatment drug that restores the orderly microbiology of the intestine and prevents re-infection of the yeast.

Probiotic drugs can also have a positive effect on the intestinal flora. Probiotics are predominantly live bacteria or yeasts that occur naturally in lactic acid foods such as kefir, buttermilk or yogurt. They can not cure various intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis (intestinal ulcer), but they can have a positive effect on the course of the disease, so that the patient feels less suffering overall.

In addition, probiotics strengthen the immune system, which in turn has a beneficial effect on the intestines. Therefore, doctors prescribe probiotic drugs such as “Kijimea irritable bowel”, “Omni Biotic” or “Mutaflor” in addition to a strict carbohydrate diet for patients with self-brewing syndrome. In addition, they recommend consuming probiotic foods such as bread drinks, lactic acid products, sauerkraut juice or bread products made from sourdough.

Outlook & forecast

The outlook for those with self-brewing syndrome is poor if the disorder is left untreated for longer. In this seldom occurring intestinal disease, fermentation processes as a result of a permanently disturbed microbiome produce ethanol. The alcohol from internal yeast fermentation can damage the liver in the long term.

Without medical treatment, those affected will be perceived as alcoholic because of the symptoms of self-brewing syndrome. This can lead to stigmatization of those affected. The prognosis is also not very good without medical treatment of the intestinal flora, because all consequential damage from unwanted alcoholism can occur. Although the person does not drink alcohol at all, they can develop cirrhosis of the liver.

The prospects for those affected improve if they visit the doctor promptly. Doctors do not always recognize the problem as self-brewing syndrome. The unintended intoxication is triggered by fusel alcohol. These arise from the fermentation of meals rich in carbohydrates. The reason for this is an intestinal flora overgrown with yeast. To remedy the cause of the self-brewing syndrome, it makes sense to rebuild the disturbed intestinal flora. If this is successful, it improves the prognosis.

It is important, however, not to supply the fermenting agents – for example carbohydrates – in larger quantities. Following a strict diet can help stop fermentation. Often times, self-brewing syndrome occurs as a result of antibiotic treatment.


Prevention in the clinical sense is not possible because the self-brewing syndrome is extremely rare worldwide. Reliable data are not available and research is difficult. Therefore, only the causes are known, not why the disease affects a few people and not the majority. However, eating a healthy diet that isn’t too high in carbohydrates can help.

Anyone who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or who has undergone prolonged antibiotic treatment can also take probiotic medication to bring the intestinal flora back into balance. Probiotic dairy products can also make a positive contribution to wellbeing.


Since the self-brewing syndrome is a congenital disease, it cannot be treated causally, but only symptomatically. As a rule, the affected person is therefore not entitled to any special follow-up care options, so that primarily the disease has to be treated himself. In most cases, the patients are dependent on lifelong therapy in order to permanently alleviate the symptoms.

The treatment of self-brewing syndrome is usually done with the help of a diet. Patients should avoid eating foods that are high in carbohydrates in order to minimize the symptoms of the syndrome. Furthermore, medication must also be taken to combat the fungal attack. These medications should always be taken as directed by a doctor.

If anything is unclear, a doctor must always be consulted. In many cases, taking probiotic medication is also very helpful in self-brewing syndrome and can alleviate the symptoms. Often those affected are also dependent on help and support in everyday life from friends and family. Since self-brewing syndrome can also damage the liver, regular check-ups should be carried out. Usually the condition does not reduce the patient’s life expectancy.

You can do that yourself

Sick people often experience doubts about their abstinence from alcohol even when they visit the doctor. The doctor’s trust in the patient is crucial. Only those who believe that the patient is strictly abstaining from alcohol can be considered a doctor. A certificate issued by the attending physician defuses unpleasant situations. It should always be ready in your wallet. In this way, for example, the person concerned can credibly explain the cause of his involuntary alcoholism to law enforcement officers.

People affected by self-brewing syndrome should inform people about their illness in their private and professional environment. In this way they dispel suspicion of being alcoholic. The circle of friends and colleagues who are in the know accept and support the self-brewer.

Helpful measures against the consequences of chronic alcohol intoxication are, for example, regular massages, which relieve muscle pain. A cup of tea made from a slice of ginger poured over boiling water will reduce the nausea. Chew the ginger piece well after drinking it and swallow it to get the full effect.

For every high-carbohydrate food, there are very similar-tasting low-carb alternatives. Every homebrewer should be able to prepare his favorite dishes in the low-carbohydrate version: from pizza with dough based on cauliflower puree to protein bread without grain to low-carb nut cake with the sugar-like sweeteners xylitol or erythritol. In this way, the required diet can be adhered to permanently and without deprivation.

Self Brewing Syndrome