Little-known syndrome makes people drunk without consuming alcohol: understand!
Without a defined cause, the condition can bring problems to the patient’s social, professional and legal life.
Just imagine the following situation: you are in an important meeting at work and suddenly you start to experience some common symptoms of drunkenness, such as dizziness, slurred speech, slow thinking and drowsiness. Only you didn’t drink a drop of alcohol during the day to feel that way. What happened?
It seems desperate to think about a scenario like this, but some people have experienced it! A recent report, published by BBC News, brought to light a curious syndrome that makes people get drunk without consuming alcohol: the intestinal fermentation syndrome (SFI).
Its cause is still unknown, but your symptoms are identical to that of drunkenness🇧🇷 Some patients may even have problems being caught in the breathalyzer, even without having consumed alcohol.
Were you curious? We, from MinhaVida, too! That’s why we talked to Mikaell Faria, a surgeon at the Brazilian Society of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery (SBCBM) and a specialist in intestinal disorders to try to understand what could be behind this condition. Check it out below!
What is Fermentation Bowel Syndrome (IFS)?
Fermentation Intestinal Syndrome, also known as self-fermentation syndrome, is a condition that raises blood alcohol levels and produces symptoms of drunkenness in patients even when they are not drinking alcohol. The disease can cause problems for the social, professional and legal life of those affected – since the level of alcohol can even show up in behavior, breath and even in the breathalyzer test.
THE cause is still unknown, but before we talk specifically about what may be related to the onset of this syndrome, it is necessary to understand how intestinal fermentation works. “The fermentation process in the gut happens naturally. During the digestion of food, a series of processes occur, such as particle breakage, food breakdown and fermentation processes”, explains Mikaell.
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The doctor explains that these fermentation processes are carried out by bacteria present in the intestine, which form the famous intestinal microbiota and, in small amounts, it’s something natural in the body🇧🇷 However, when there is an imbalance in this “intestinal flora”, this fermentation can happen in high amounts.
“The consequence of this is, many times, the greater production of gases, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and, in some patients, greater production of alcohol by the intestine”, he explains. That’s where gut fermentation syndrome comes in.
What can be related to the cause of this syndrome?
The exact cause of the syndrome is still unknown. However, some scientific studies already published may help to find possible ways to understand this curious condition. The literature shows that, although SFI has been found in healthy people, the highest incidence occurs in patients suffering from comorbidities such as diabetes, liver diseases related to obesity, Crohn’s disease and in those people who have undergone previous intestinal operations.
Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that there may be a number of factors that increase the risk of SFI🇧🇷 The excessive presence of some alcohol-producing fungi and bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to overproduction of alcohol through the process of intestinal fermentation.
Some of these alcohol-producing bacteria are from the Candida genus, such as Candida albicans, Candida kefyr and candida galbrata🇧🇷 the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is used in the production of wine and beer, is also one of them. In isolation, the presence of small amounts of these microorganisms does not lead to the syndrome, but other factors can contribute to the increase of these populations in the body and, consequently, lead to abnormal fermentation processes.
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“Due to the patient’s food process, the type of food he was consuming, associated with the bacteria present in his intestine, the end result of fermentation was a large amount of alcohol”, explains Mikaell. “This justifies both the reason why some people feel sick, have symptoms of drunkenness even without having ingested alcohol, as well as cases of patients who never drank, but developed cirrhosis at some stage of life”, he completes.
One of the factors that can lead to intestinal fermentation syndrome is the high consumption of carbohydrates🇧🇷 “This is the substrate that makes the bacteria ferment the most. The fermentation process of the bacteria is done on the carbohydrates. So, the greater the amount of carbohydrate ingested, the greater the chance of having excess fermentative processes”, clarifies the professional.
Therefore, food exerts a great influence on the balance of the intestinal microbiota. But, in addition to it, there are other factors that can generate an imbalance and, consequently, fermentative processes in the intestine. One of them is the use of antibiotics🇧🇷
Know more: Better understand dysbiosis and irritable bowel syndrome
“Often, that antibiotic that we take for the throat, for example, can unbalance the intestinal microbiota, because it not only eliminates the bacteria that cause throat infection, but eliminates microorganisms from various parts of the body”, says Mikaell .
However, it must be understood that this is not a rule: not every antibiotic will increase the production of alcohol by the intestine🇧🇷 “The medicine can unbalance to the point of generating an increase in the bacteria that produce alcohol in the intestine. But it can also increase the amount of bacteria that produce gas, that change the mucus, that give more diarrhea. Each person can have a different outcome, there is no way to guarantee what will happen with the use of the antibiotic”, emphasizes the professional.
In short: this is a rare syndrome that is still very mysterious. However, it is already possible to understand that there may be a strong relationship between the imbalance of the intestinal microbiota and self-fermentation by the intestine.
Content for educational purposes only. Consult a Doctor.
The translator user relied on the following source:
Minha Vida Website – REF99827
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