Man with auto-brewery syndrome gets drunk on carbs
Chowing down on a box of chips sends one British man into a drunken, vulgar state.
Every day for more than a year Nick Hess would become intoxicated after eating carbohydrates.
"It was weird, I'd eat some carbs and all of a sudden I was goofy, vulgar," he told the BBC.
His wife thought he as an alcoholic and one night scoured their house trying to find what she thought were hidden bottles of alcohol.
But after a visit to a doctor, it turned out Hess was suffering from a rare condition called auto-brewery syndrome, whereby the stomach has an overgrowth of yeast which turns carbohydrates into excess alcohol in the blood.
Hess said he had no idea how bad it was and simply thought everyone was giving him a hard time.
"I thought everyone was just giving me a rough time, until my wife filmed me and then I saw it – I looked drunk."
He would also wake up with a hangover, having to vomit most mornings and suffering from stomach pains and headaches normally associated with a big night out.
Another American man also suffered from the condition.
He was taken to hospital and given carbohydrates but no alcohol.
At one point during the afternoon, his blood alcohol levels rose to 120 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood – the equivalent of drinking seven shots of whisky.
It has been hard to cure, with Hess having take anti-fungal drugs and use a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar.
"I still have one or two episodes a month," he said.
"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."