Gut microbes can get you drunk and damage your liver

Gut microbes can get you drunk and damage your liverIn 2016, a woman who had a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit was acquitted of her DUI charge after it was discovered that she had an extremely rare condition called “auto-brewery syndrome.” People with this syndrome carry microbes in their intestines that produce abnormally high levels of alcohol, which they produce when they break down sugars and carbohydrates. While auto-brewery syndrome is an extreme example, it makes one wonder: Could intestinal microbes be influencing other health or behavioral traits? Jing Yuan at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing published a new study in Cell Metabolism showing that an intestinal microbe may cause fatty liver disease by producing high levels of alcohol.