Our body is capable of producing alcohol naturally

Author : Dr. P. D. Gupta

Former, Director Grade Scientist, (Retired from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India). E. mail: pdg2000@hotmail.co


This endogenous ethanol formation either in some disease, commonly known as gut fermentation syndrome, which is not common, but a regular formation of alcohol in human intestine of non drinker is a regular phenomena. It is need based phenomenon i.e. our body requires a certain quantity of alcohol every day throughout our lives. And we don’t wait until the legal or permissible age decided by the local government. Also it doesn’t matter what our religion teaches about alcohol. We still produce it and fulfil our body’s requirement. Alcoholic drinks are a major source of energy—for example, six pints of beer contain about 500 kcal and half a litre of whisky contains 1650 kcal.The daily energy requirement for a moderately active man is 3000 kcal and for a woman 2200 kcal. 

The process of endogenous ethanol production is non- stop working for 24 hours a day, seven days per week in all human beings. Our bodies can make up to about an ounce of pure alcohol each day. That’s equal to almost two alcoholic drinks. Amount of alcohol formation also depends on diet. A starch rich diet will form more alcohol and fermentation will create more gas.

The alcohol is largely produces by microbiota (bacteria and microscopic algae and fungi) present in the digestive tract. The primary fungi are yeast. They ferment carbohydrates and Junk food that cause excessive gas carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, hydrogen sulfide) formation. Gas releases from digestive track either through mouth by belching or via the anus. Further, a high carbs diet increases alcohol production. In addition, some scientists believe that our cells and tissues can also produce some ethanol. Ethanol is constantly formed endogenously that is convered to acetaldehyde by enzymes, which can be generated in situ from the metabolism of pyruvate, threonine, deoxyribose-5-phosphate, phosphoethanolamine, alanine and presumably from other substrates which are normally available endogeneously.

The levels of blood and tissue endogenous ethanol change as a function of various physiologic conditions such as starvation, aging, stress, cooling, adrenalectomy, etc. Endogenous ethanol and acetaldehyde can therefore be regarded as compounds which fulfil substrate, regulatory and modulator functions. Acetaldehyde is metabolized mainly by aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) in the mitochondria to form acetate and NADH, reactive oxygen species (ROS). Food products containing acetaldehyde are yogurt, fruit juice, pureed fruit (even baby food), preserved vegetables, soy sauce, vinegar products. The endogenous production of alcohol can also increase due to overgrowth of yeast in the gut. This leads to the fermentation of carbs into high levels of alcohol. Studies suggest that the yeast producing the most alcohol is. (The author has his own study and views)