Risky drinking games usually involve alcohol, but one teen learned not to swig soy sauce, either. A 19-year-old man in Virginia drank a quart of soy sauce on a dare.
He first started twitching, and then had seizures and eventually landed in the hospital in a three-day coma. Doctors diagnosed him with hypernatremia, or dangerous levels of salt in the bloodstream.
One quart of soy sauce can contain as much as a third of a pound (150 grams) of sodium. Excess sodium in the bloodstream pulls water out of nearby tissues by a process called osmosis, which equalizes the concentrations of salt across cells. Hypernatremia can extract so much water from the brain that it starts to shrink and bleed.
It took doctors about five hours and 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters) of sugar water pumped into the teen’s body to get his sodium levels back to normal, according to the report, published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in June.
Surprisingly, he survived with no long-term neurological damage.