Tuesday July 16, 2019

DNA Can Get Changed Due To Heavy Drinking: Study

In 2016, more than 3 million people died from the harmful use of alcohol. More than three quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were among men.

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DNA
Heavy drinking can change your DNA: Study

Are you a heavy drinker? Take note. Besides alcohol taking a toll on your health in many ways, it may also trigger a long-lasting genetic change resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, researchers including one of Indian-origin have warned.

“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 in the US.

“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.

Hangovers might last longer than you think
Hangovers might also last longer than you think. Pixabay

For the study, researchers focused on two genes implicated in the control of drinking behaviour: PER2, which influences the body’s biological clock, and POMC, which regulates our stress-response system.

By comparing groups of moderate, binge and heavy drinkers, the team found that the two genes had changed in binge and heavy drinkers through an alcohol-influenced gene modification process called methylation, according to the findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

In addition, the binge and heavy drinkers also showed reductions in gene expression, or the rate at which these genes create proteins. These changes increased with greater alcohol intake.

Alcohol is linked with 7 cancers.

Also, in another experiment, the drinkers viewed stress-related, neutral or alcohol-related images. They were also shown containers of beer and subsequently tasted beer, and their motivation to drink was evaluated.

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

Also Read: Protein Found in Spinach May Treat Alcohol Abuse, Mood Disorders

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, more than 3 million people died from the harmful use of alcohol. More than three quarters of alcohol-caused deaths were among men. The harmful use of alcohol also caused 5.1 per cent of disease and injuries worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. (IANS)

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Quit Alcohol For Improved Mental Health, Say Researchers

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks

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Bottles of Alcohol. Wikimedia Commons

By Bharat Upadhyay

If you thought moderate drinking would not do you much harm, think again. Researchers have found that quitting alcohol completely may improve mental well-being, especially for women.

Moderate drinking was defined as 14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women.

The study found that men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study.

For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favourable change in mental well-being, showed results published in the journal CMAJ.

While the study was conducted on Chinese and American populations, experts have said that the results could apply to Indian populations too.

Society, Drinking, Alcohol
An estimated 53 million adults — experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months. Pixabay

According to Naveen Kumar, Consultant Gastroenterology, Narayana Superspecialty Hospital in Gurugram, quitting alcohol even for a month could help in repairing the gut and metabolic system and alleviate its symptoms. It will help in boosting long-term health and can provide a healthier quality of life.

“Abstinence from alcohol is mandatory for a healthier brain and liver, a stronger immune system and heart, especially in women as alcohol effects are more harmfully serious on women, considering their metabolism and estrogen levels,” Kumar told IANS.

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks.

Also Read: A Feeling of Safety Most Important for Hospitalized Kids

“Alcohol works in a way that may depress our central nervous system and may fluctuate our mood as it lowers the levels of serotonin in our brain. Regular consumption changes the chemistry of the brain and results in the depletion of our mental health,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant at Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS.

“To increase the brain volume and to deal with all sorts of situations, abstinence is required,” he added. (IANS)