Can Alcohol Damage our DNA? A New Study Suggests Yes

Can alcohol damage our cells and DNA? Scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge discovered new evidence that suggests alcohol causes damage at a cellular level, with prolonged use leading to permanent damage to DNA. Ketan Patel, FRS FMedSci MRCP, professor and lead author of the study, has observed that alcohol consumption not only leads to permanent DNA damage, but also increases the risk of developing cancer.

The research team at MRC Laboratory gave doses of ethanol to mice equivalent to a human drinking a full bottle of whisky in a compressed period of time. Some of these mice had a reduced ability to produce the enzyme that breaks down alcohol coupled with diminished DNA repair pathways. After a few weeks, they studied the DNA of the mice and found the harmful chemical compound acetaldehyde (ALDH) had built up due to the body’s processing of the large quantities of alcohol. This ALDH buildup damaged the DNA within blood stem cells, causing mutations in chromosomes which are known catalysts for cancer and the aging process.

This study is being funded by Cancer Research UKClick here to read more about the findings.

Make sure to read “Three Med School Career Paths, and Their Alcoholic Drink Compliments“. A new study from the University of Greenwich’s Journal of Pain suggests that alcohol might be a better pain reliever than Acetaminophen‬‬ and other common pain relievers.

The study suggests that alcohol contained analgesic, or pain relieving effects. According to their researchers, a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08%, or three to four standard drinks, provides a small increase in pain threshold. The research also suggests that “higher blood alcohol content is associated with greater analgesia”, and “a moderate decrease in pain ratings was also observed”.

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