Our bodies do strange things


I recently came across this article about a gentleman who brews his own beer… inside his gut. Apparently he harbors Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with the result that his digestive system was literally manufacturing alcohol every time he consumed carbohydrates due to the fermentation action of S. cerevisiae mixing with carbs and sugar.

From the article:

The man, who at first was assumed by other doctors to be a “closet” drinker,[1] was eventually cured of his condition after being put on a low-carb diet and taking anti-fungal medications to purge his body of S. cerevisiae. But his case now serves as an example of what can happen to a person when taking conventional antibiotics — the body’s delicate microbial ecosystem can undergo drastic changes that leave it prone to takeover by harmful yeast strains.

I recently had an experience that was different but related, and was pretty strange. I’m  putting the rest of this post under a “more” cut, in case it falls into the category of “too much information.”

Friday afternoon I mixed up a batch of krapfen for a reunion of Austrian missionaries that I was going to attend that evening.  It was my first attempt, and the two halves didn’t seal properly so I ended up making strange-looking jelly sandwiches, but they tasted OK. But during the process, as is my wont, I ended up licking a lot of spoons (including the yeast spoon) and eating a lot of raw dough.

Now I love the taste of yeast – I remember pinching corners off of my mother’s yeast cakes when she made bread – or off my own, as I later made bread for myself. Never had the slightest hint of a problem. But later in life, I developed GERD, as my lower esophageal sphincter started giving out, and so for about 4 years I’ve been taking omeprazole (pharmaceutical Prilosec™) to suppress stomach acid. it works like a charm, and puts the fire right out. I still have some issues, but at least I don’t have to struggle with daily pain.

There’s one big drawback, though, which I discovered on Friday; stomach acid kills yeast, and if you don’t have any, it’s like putting all that raw dough plus some additional yeast into a warm, moist oven to rise.

And rise it did.

One of the by-products of yeast fermentation is CO2, (the same gas as in carbonated drinks), and which makes dough rise. So for about 9 hours, I had this carbon-dioxide factory in my gut, churning out gas like there was no tomorrow, with predictable results. Fortunately I was never in any pain, as I was able to… well, this is the best analogy that I could possibly come up with:

So the lesson here is that if you’re on an acid suppressant, don’t eat raw yeast, or you’ll live to regret it… for at least a couple of days.

The Old Wolf has (urp!) spoken.[2]

[1] I love the fact that the doctors jumped to an incorrect conclusion automatically rather than take the patient at his word. Easier to assume the guy is a closet drunk than look for something unusual.
[2] Excuse me. Oh, excuse me.

2 responses to “Our bodies do strange things

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