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Biology/Yeast and Intoxication

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Question
Dear Mr. Walter Hintz,

I have two questions:

1. It has been known that dogs can get drunk by ingesting raw dough that has yeast in it. Here is an article about this:
http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jlee/2011/oct/alcohol_poisoning_in_dogs-1

Would you expect humans to get drunk by ingesting raw dough that has yeast in it?

2. Yeast turns sugars into alcohol. If a person ingests large quantities of yeast on an empty stomach, would he get drunk? What about if he ingests large quantities of yeast while having some starches or sugars in his stomach?

Thank you.

Answer
Hi Abdulla
 1.I think that the article is somewhat misleading. It is true that the process of fermantation can result during metabolism but with the dogs it occurs in the stomach not after the dog metabolizes the yeast and flour. Dogs also have a low tolerance for alcohol. I would not expect this to occur in humans.
2. With respect to our metabolism the sugar we eat in converted into pyruvate.  In muscle tissue that is low in Oxygen fermentation occurs but lactic acid is produced and not alcohol. Any yeast you consume would be converted to pyruvate. In fact when I was kid Fleishman touted eating yeast as a treatment for various ailments and for care for fingernails. People would dissolve yeast in tomato juice and drink it

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

Science teacher for over 50 years. MSc. in biology. I can answer questions in general biology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology and biochemistry.

Experience

I have a MSc in biology and have been a science teacher for over 50 years. At present I am a faculty member at a college and a science consultant at seven catholic schools.

Publications
The Ohio journal of Science
Momentum-The Journal of the Catholic Education Association

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