Gut Fermentation (or the "Auto-brewery") Syndrome: A New Clinical Test with Initial Observations and Discussion of Clinical and Biochemical Implications

Hunnisett A, Howard J, Davies S
J. Nutr. Med. 1990;1:33-38


This study demonstrates that alcohol production from oral carbohydrate ingestion is not a rarity but is remarkably common (61%) amongst patients who are chronically unwell. It also presents data to support the use of a new simple clinical test to diagnose gut fermentation that may be due to Candida albicans or other yeasts or bacteria, and thus identify patients who may benefit from a course of anti-yeast or anti-bacterial therapy. (This test does not differentiate between yeast and bacterial fermentation, neither does it exclude large bowel overgrowth of yeasts or "abnormal" bacteria). It is an easy test to perform both technically and clinically, requiring a minimum of laboratory hardware, and it presents to the patient only the discomfort of having two venepunctures (or one for children). It is a test well within the capability of any clinical laboratory and should prove useful in the identification of a cause of a diffuse clinical condition.

Further studies should be carried out, including microbiological culture of gastric and duodenal aspirates in EtOH producers, clinical response to the appropriate anti-yeast or anti-bacterial intervention, and on the stress on dietary micronutrient supply that EtOH production causes.

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