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What is auto brewery syndrome?

When you are pulled over and an officer believes you are driving while under the influence of alcohol, he or she may give you a breath test. If you don't pass the test, you may be arrested or cited for DUI or DWI. These charges could lead to court time, fines, suspension of license or even jail time.

Unfortunately, many offenders are not aware of health conditions that can actually affect a breath test. One of these is called auto brewery syndrome, and few Americans are aware of its existence.

Here are key points to know about the syndrome:

1. The basics

Those with auto brewery syndrome have an abundance of yeast in their digestive system, which produces ethanol in quantities that can lead to intoxication. Basically, an individual with the syndrome has a stomach that makes its own beer. This condition makes it appear that the individual is drunk even when alcohol has not been consumed.

Consuming yeast can also contribute to the problem. Brewer's yeast is in plenty of foods, including wine and some breads. Most of the time, individuals can process this yeast and let it flow right through the body. Those with auto brewery syndrome hold on to the yeast until it starts producing alcohol.

2. The symptoms

Those afflicted with condition may experience these symptoms:

· Anxiety

· Depression

· Dry mouth

· Hangovers

· Dizziness

· Disorientation

Because so few individuals are aware of this condition, they may not realize they need treatment until their personal and professional lives have been harmed. This condition causes changes in relationships that leave the individual even more depressed and anxious, making it difficult to get treatment.

3. Other influencing factors

Those with liver irregularities may also suffer from this condition as they are unable to break down alcohol in a normal manner. Even when the amount of alcohol produced is too little to intoxicate a healthy person, those with liver irregularities may be seriously affected.

Ethanol may also be present in the urine and blood of those with auto brewery syndrome. This means that anyone with the condition who is tested in any way for being under the influence is likely to show a high percentage of alcohol in the body, which may be above the legal limit for the state.

While this is an extremely rare condition, it has been cited in situations when individuals were admitted to the hospital with high blood alcohol levels without having consumed alcohol that day.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence but are confident you haven't had a drink before the arrest, you may benefit from a consultation with an attorney about how to proceed with your case.

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Todd L. Sallee, Attorney at Law

155 East Market Street, Suite 450
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-643-5507
Fax: 317-630-4824
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