Sure, they may help calm the tummy, reduce kids' allergies, blast fat, and soothe salmonella symptoms but the probiotic power that might might most impress America at large (or at least those enlarged with beer bellies) is the one that enables you to brew beer in your gut.
A 61-year-old Texas man with a history of home brewing (in bottles) lurched into an ER, complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer and found his blood to have nearly five times the legal limit of alcohol. But the guy hadn't touched a drop of booze that day. The bouts of unexplained drunkenness started in 2004 after the man underwent surgery for a broken foot and was treated with antibiotics, which may have affected his gut bacteria, reported the Toronto Star.
He would become extremely drunk after just two beers, and seemed intoxicated even when he had n't been drinking. "He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime," Barbara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas told NPR. "His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyzer."
Some docs figured the guy was secretly drinking. But Cordell and Lubbock gastroenterologist Justin McCarthy wanted to get to the truth. They frisked him for liquor and isolated him in a hospital room (with no mini bar) for 24 hours. Then he carbed out. Doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol, which at one point, rose .12 percent.
McCarthy and Cordell found the source of what clearly would be Homer Simpson's super power of choice: brewer's yeast in the gut. He was infected with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When he stuffed himself with starch - a bagel, pasta or even a soda - the yeast fermented the sugars into ethanol and he'd get drunk. Essentially, he was brewing his own beer. Cordell and McCarthy reported the case of "auto-brewery syndrome" in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine.
For horrified - or hopeful - consumers of brewer's yeast, don't worry, the syndrome is very rare. It is, however, the ultimate locavore drinking strategy for beer lovers. Happy Oktoberfest!