Using Yeast to Lower Your Blood Alcohol Level: Another Urban Legend?

If you drink at all, you have probably noticed that you can take certain steps to influence how intoxicated you feel and whether you have a hangover the next day. Drinking water, getting enough to eat, and even taking certain supplements or avoiding specific types of alcoholic beverages may make a difference. Another method gained media traction recently after an Esquire blog about Jim Koch, the co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, and his method of countering the effects of alcohol.

According to the April 24 blog, Koch uses yeast to counteract the intoxicating effects of the beer that plays such an important role in his professional life. In his interview with the blog's author, Koch discusses how he uses active yeast, which can be purchased at the grocery store, in the amount of one teaspoon per beer, before he starts drinking. He said he mixes the yeast powder with yogurt to make it easier to eat.

The principle behind using yeast to mitigate, or minimize, the effects of alcohol is based on the fact that active dry yeast has an enzyme in it called alcohol dehydrogenasas (ADH). The theory is that ADH breaks down alcohol molecules, and if you consume yeast before drinking, the ADH will begin breaking down alcohol before it gets into your bloodstream.

Does this method actually work? This is a question that only properly controlled studies could answer, but the blog's author did try the method himself in a casual setting. He reported drinking a six pack of beer after consuming six teaspoons of active dry yeast and feeling "nothing more than a little buzzed."

The Alabama Public Radio (APR) recently conducted its own informal study, using three subjects: a 37-year-old female weighing 125 pounds, a 35-year-old male weighing 152 pounds and a 34-year-old female weighing 125 pounds. The study was completed using three separate tests, each conducted with two beers. The first involved two beers alone; the second involved two beers with one teaspoons of yeast in yogurt prior to each beer; and the third involved two beers with 16 ounces of water before and after each beer. Participants fasted for 8 hours prior to each test to avoid the chances of food interfering with the results.

In conducting each of the three separate tests, participants consumed the same beers and drank each over a 15-minute period. They then took breath tests using the BACTrack S80 Pro Breathalyzer.

The results of this informal study were that yeast did little to counteract participants' blood alcohol levels. Water consumption had more of an impact on participants' peak BAC levels. Though this study was certainly conducted in an informal setting, and all participants were in a similar weight range in their thirties, which could have also impacted results, it seems there may be reason to doubt the use of yeast to counteract the effects of alcohol.

Like other methods that have arisen over the years (sucking on a penny, chewing gum, etc.) to try to lower one's blood alcohol concentration or affect a Breathalyzer test to avoid a DUI arrest, eating yeast may not be your best bet. Designate a driver, drink less or wait until you have sobered up to drive. Risking an arrest is not worth it, considering the serious consequences of a DUI conviction.

If you do find yourself pulled over and arrested for DUI, the most important thing you can do is involve an attorney. You have the right to legal counsel and should exercise this right if you want the best opportunity of keeping your driver's license and avoiding a conviction. For more information and insight regarding a specific case, call an Orange County DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today.

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