A woman in upstate New York, who had been arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit, has been relieved of her charges. Her defense was a rare medical condition called “auto-brewery syndrome,” in which the woman’s digestive system converts common food carbohydrates into alcohol. The human bod is a mystery, indeed.

“I had never heard of auto-brewery syndrome before this case,” Joseph Marusak, the woman’s attorney, told CNN. “But I knew something was amiss when the hospital police took the woman to wanted to release her immediately because she wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms.” Marusak’s client, whose identity remains anonymous, met her husband at a restaurant for food and drinks in 2014. Between noon and 6 p.m., the women consumed four drinks. After getting a flat tire on the way home, another driver saw her struggling with the car and reported it as an accident. She blew a blood alcohol level of almost 0.40 and was taken to the hospital where she underwent tests. “So if she hadn’t had that flat tire, she’d not know to this day that she has this condition,” Marusak said.

He then hired physicians to test his client’s blood alcohol levels over a 12-hour period. “Without any drinks, her blood level was double the legal limit at 9:15 a.m., triple the limit at 6 p.m. and more than four times the legal limit at 8:30 p.m., which correlates with the same time of day that the police pulled her over.” The woman didn’t show signs of feeling drunk until she reached a blood alcohol level of between 0.30 and 0.40.

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While a judge has dismissed the woman’s case, Marusak says he’s heard that the DA’s office plans to appeal. His client is trying to treat her condition — which is also known as gut fermentation syndrome — with anti-fungal medications, and a very strict low-carb diet, free of yeast, sugar and alcohol.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

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