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Imagine becoming drunk after eating a plate of spaghetti or a loaf of white bread. Lol, l understand this sounds strange and funny to you but it has been happening to people. Yeah, some people get drunk without drinking. There was a man who lived after World War II called Charles Swaart. He suddenly and completely gets drunk without having swallowed a drop of alcohol. His situation was so serious that his liver was being destroyed. Fortunately for him, he was diagnosed and found out that there was a mutant strain of yeast called candida Albicans living in the gastrointestinal tract. These yeast cells were using carbohydrates from his diet to make alcohol.

The short of the story is that all the mutant yeast cells in his intestine were killed by trying several antibiotics. However, the metabolic pathways used by these yeast cells were glycolysis and alcohol fermentation, two of the pathways that we will look at in this piece aside from the auto-brewery syndrome also known as drunkenness disease. So, relax and get a kick out of how beer is made in the gut.


Auto brewery syndrome is similarly inferred as gut fermentation syndrome. It is a condition in which your body turns carbohydrates into alcohol by yeast such as candida Albicans or bacteria. Nonetheless, Candida albicans is a regular inhabitant of the human gut. Although the auto-brewery syndrome is not common, it is a serious disease and can impact life. Before we delve into the symptoms and causes of drunkenness disease, let look at one of the metabolic pathways used by yeast to cause the auto-brewery syndrome.


Just as we need the energy to jump, think, drive and run, the cell needs an available supply of cellular energy for active transport, mechanical work including muscle constriction, and motility of sperm cells. Also, energy is needed to move molecules between the environment and the cell. So we want a supply of energy-rich food molecules that can be degraded to provide this needed energy. Regardless, our food contains three major sources of energy: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Each of these large molecules has to be broken down before they can be taken into the cell and utilized to produce cellular energy. Further, since the release of a huge quantity of energy at one time would damage the cell, the breakdown of energy molecules occurs in a series of combined steps known as the metabolic pathway.

Moving on, carbohydrates are the most readily used molecules among the classes of food mentioned above. And the pathway for the first stages of carbohydrate breakdown is called glycolysis.


Glycolysis is the process of breaking down carbohydrates (such as glucose) into 2-carbon molecules of which each is made of 3-carbon molecules called pyruvates to produce energy( ATP and NADH).

Glycolysis was formed from the Greek word -Glykys which implies sweet and lysis- which means splitting. Therefore, simply put, glycolysis is the splitting of a glucose molecule that generates energy. Note that, glycolysis can occur in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. However, four occurrences characterize glycolysis and they are:
1. Initial phosphorylation
2. Splitting of the molecules
3. Oxidation and formation of a high-energy phosphate bond
4. Molecular rearrangement to form a high-energy phosphate bond.

Initial phosphorylation:

The initial step of glycolysis involves a breakdown of ATP to the small energetic ADP molecule during the formation of glucose 6-phosphate. This may be understood as an investment of ATP by the cell to generate a greater retrieval of ATP at a later aspect. The second investment of ATP arises in the formation of fructose 1,6-diphosphate.

Splitting of the molecule:

The fructose 1,6- triphosphate is cleaved and two trioses called phosphoglyceraldehyde (PGAL) and dihydroxyacetone phosphate( DHAP) is formed.

Oxidation and formation of a high-energy phosphate bond:

The PGAL also undergoes oxidation without molecular oxygen to 1,3-diphosphoglyceric acid and in the process attains two changes:
A pair of electrons and hydrogen ions are transmitted to the coenzyme NAD+ to form the more highly energetic NADH.
Inorganic phosphate is picked up from the cytoplasm to form a second phosphate bond and that will produce an ATP for the cell in the next reaction.

Molecular arrangement to form a higher energy phosphate bond:

From the inner molecular arrangements that happen, another molecule of ATP is reproduced with pyruvic acid being the end product. Under anaerobic conditions, pyruvate naturally reacts with hydrogen to form either alcohol in most plants and bacteria or lactic acid in animals and some bacteria. However, glycolysis appropriately ends with the formation of pyruvic acid. But, the reduction of pyruvate is necessary so that the NAD+ in the glycolysis conversion of PGAL to 1,3-diphosphoglyceric is produced otherwise glycolysis will stop without it. For more clarification, let look at the simple way of glycolysis.

Glycolysis diagram showing the reactions and the different pathways(Aerobic and Anaerobic) of Glucose in the Cycle. 


In glycolysis, one molecule of glucose is oxidized into two molecules of pyruvate with the procedure giving rise to a net gain of two ATP molecules. Thus, two are absorbed while four are produced. In addition, two molecules of NADH and hydrogen are produced which are then oxidized through the electron transport chain( ETC) to generate 6 molecules of ATP. The total output of glycolysis under aerobic conditions is 8 molecules of ATP.


The process of Glycolysis comprises the change of one molecule of glucose (a six-carbon compound) is changed to fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (also a six-carbon compound), which finally increase to two molecules of pyruvate (a three-carbon compound)

Under aerobic conditions, pyruvate is oxidized to CO2 and H2O by the Kreb cycle and oxidative phosphorylation whereas, under anaerobic conditions, lactate is manufactured, especially in muscle tissue. Alcoholic fermentation exists in yeast. The NADH produced in the conversion of glucose to pyruvate is re-oxidized to NAD+ in the subsequent reactions of pyruvate.
Going on with auto-brewery syndrome since we know one pathway of energy derivation from foods. So, in the gastrointestinal tract of the human body are several species of gut microbes. The prevalence of which are bacteria with just 1% of fungi. These in-built microbes are living in proportion without giving rise to any illnesses.

However, when an overgrowth of candida(a type of yeast) occur, it results in numerous complications in the digestive system and other functions in the body. It happens when yeasts feed on the sugars and starches in food which they convert into energy. This process creates ethanol - a type of alcohol and carbon dioxide. The ethanol will then enter the bloodstream and move throughout the body.
Furthermore, people who have auto-brewery syndrome have high blood alcohol levels and have the same physical symptoms that occur when an individual is intoxicated.


Auto-brewery syndrome can be caused by too much yeast in the gut. Also, diseases like diabetes and short bowel syndrome can make a person prone to it. Again, a weakened immune system and obesity can be a cause of auto-brewery syndrome.


Mood swing
Loss of coordination
Difficulty with concentration


Reducing carbohydrates in your diet.
"You are what you eat," said Amazing Vinny Max Bani. Consuming carbohydrates only affects our health and well-being which we just know a few. For example, we know more intake of carbohydrates causes constipation. But we are not much aware of the breakdown of carbohydrates by yeast in the gut can make us intoxicated. Henceforth, we should eat well by balancing our diet with all the food sources.


ATP- Adenosine triphosphate;  is a nucleotide comprised of adenosine and three phosphate group that supplies energy for cellular processes.
Phosphate - is a salt or solvent of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to the carboxyl group in a way to release useful energy.
Phosphorylation- is the enzymatic conversation of carbohydrates into their phosphoric esters in metabolic processes.
ADP- Adenosine phosphate - is a nucleotide comprised of adenosine and two phosphate groups that are formed in living cells as a medium between ATP and AMP.
AMP- Adenosine monophosphate- is a nucleotide composed of adenosine and one phosphate group that is reversibly convertible to ADP and ATP in metabolic response.
NAD- means Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.
NADH- is a minor form of NAD. And the H attaching to it is hydrogen.


I am an artless lady who seeks to improve the health care of children in deprived areas with little knowledge l have. I love to write, motivate, and inspire people with academic challenges.