Becoming a brewery in death: Presence of alcohol doesn't mean the deceased drank

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Many dead people have alcohol in their blood even though they didn't drink before dying

EXCERPTS: Alcohol is formed while the body decays. Glucose is needed to make alcohol. When brewing beer, for example, yeast converts sugar to CO2 and alcohol, specifically ethanol, according to ScienceDirect.

In death, the body becomes a kind of brewery. Sugar, microorganisms, and adequate heat are needed to produce alcohol in a dead body. [...] An autopsy can tell the difference between a person who has drunk alcohol and one who has created it after death, the chief physicians state.

Substances are formed in the liver when you drink alcohol that do not appear if the alcohol is created in the body. 0.1 per cent of the alcohol you drink is converted into the substances ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate, according to this study.

These substances are metabolites, i.e., substances that are formed during the breakdown of alcohol in the body. These metabolites can therefore indicate whether someone has drunk alcohol or not.

It is common for more alcohol to be created in bodies that have been exposed to traumatic injuries. The crushing of organs in the abdomen can release a whole host of microorganisms into the rest of the body.

Because of this, violent accidents often indicate alcohol consumption even without any alcohol being involved at all. [...] By making sure that a good and thorough investigation is conducted, "unnecessary accusations of alcoholism at the time of death" can be avoided, the chief physicians write... (MORE - missing details)

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