Heavy Drinking Can Change Your DNA, Warns StudyHealthy Living

January 30, 2019 07:26
Heavy Drinking Can Change Your DNA, Warns Study

(Image source from: QuitAlcohol.com)

Consuming alcohol excessively has adverse effects on your health in plenty of ways, and it may also cause a long-lasting genetic change resulting in an even greater longing for alcohol, researchers including one of Indian-origin have found.

If you are a heavy drinker, then take note.

"We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more," said Dipak K Sarkar, Professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey.

"This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted," said Sarkar.

The researchers, for the study, focused on two genes involved in the control of drinking manner: POMC, which regulates our stress-response system and PER2, which influences the body's biological clock.

For the study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers compared groups of a moderate, binge, and heavy drinkers consequently founding that the two genes had changed in binge and heavy drinkers through an alcohol-influenced gene modification procedure called methylation, according to the findings.

Additionally, the heavy and binge drinkers as well showed cut downs in gene expression, or the rate at which these genes create proteins. These changes increased with greater alcohol intake.

Likewise, in another experiment, the drinkers viewed stress-related, neutral or alcohol-related pictures. They were as well shown containers of beer and subsequently tasted beer, and their need to drink was evaluated.

Results showed that alcohol-fueled changes in the genes of binge and heavy drinkers were associated with a greater desire for alcohol.

The findings may eventually help researchers identify biomarkers - measurable indicators such as proteins or modified genes - that could predict an individual's risk for binge or heavy drinking, Sarkar noted.

In 2016, over three million people died from the noxious use of alcohol, among whom more than three-quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were men.

The harmful use of alcohol also caused 5.1 percent of disease and injuries worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

-Sowmya Sangam

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health and wellness  alcohol