Matthew Hogg takes home brewing to a whole new level: Thanks to an excess of yeast in his digestive system, the 34-year-old British man gets as drunk from bread and pasta as his friends do from pints of lager.
Hogg’s disease is called auto-brewery syndrome, a rare disorder in which his intestines produce ethanol – pure alcohol – from carbohydrates, leaving him drunk at worst, and tired and hungover at best.
In an interview with Vice, Hogg explained exactly what his condition means for his day-to-day life. As the site learned, being naturally drunk all the time is not quite the rollicking good time one might assume.
“It’s had a huge and devastating effect on my life,” the Yorkshire man told Vice.
Before his diagnosis, Hogg spent his teen years inexplicably tired and disoriented at all hours. Once an athlete and straight-A student, Hogg found himself unable to focus during tests and exhausted after short jogs during his later high school years.
It took $80,000 of medical testing before a doctor in Mexico finally diagnosed Hogg with auto-brewery disorder, also known as gut fermentation syndrome. Now he attempts to manage his condition by adhering to a strict diet, similar to the Paleo Diet but without the fruit.
Even so, his chronic fatigue leaves him unable to hold a full-time job. For income, Hogg runs The Environmental Illness Resource, an informational website about disorders such as his. He lives with his teacher girlfriend, Mandy, who supports him.
One of the hardest things about living with auto-brewery syndrome, Hogg says, is overcoming the “stubborn disbelief” of those around him.
“I’m constantly reading messages from visitors to my website who suffer from the condition, saying their doctor, boss, co-workers, and even friends, family and partners, just don’t understand,” he tells Vice.
“People think we’re just making this condition up.”
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