Typically college students spend their weekends partying. This social environment can lead to excessive drinking and alcohol consumption problems. We've heard that too much drinking can affect your liver and kidneys but today was the first time I heard it can affect the structure of your telomeres. What is the big concern? Well, your telomeres are important to the genetic stability of your cells. The telomeres are already shortening as age progresses due to the natural processes of the body which makes the genetic information in the cells less stable normally. Recent research has shown that excessive alcohol consumption could increase the progression of these telomeres shortening more rapidly that normal. This idea makes you wonder if the telomeres shortening is what makes heavy drinkers typically appear older than they really are. When cells are less stable due to telomeres shortening there is a greater risk of genetic mutations, which is the main cause of many cancer types.
In a recent article, " Excessive Alcohol Consumption May Lead to Increased Cancer Risk" the author describes current research lead by Andrea Baccarelli, M.D, Ph. D. who is the head of the Center of Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology , Ca' Granda Hospital Foundation at the University of Milan, Italy. Baccarelli currently is involved in research testing the relation of excessive drinking to shortening of telomeres. She preformed Polymerase Chain Reaction testing or PCR on all of her participants. This group was divided into people who abused alcohol and people who have variable alcohol consumption. To eliminate many variables this group were all similar in age, environment, diet, and other factors related to their everyday life. After testing results showed that the length of the telomeres where dramatically shorter in those participants who were excessive drinkers.
I was interested to see the results of this study. You always here of smoking being a lead cause in some cancer types and now excessive alcohol drinking is coming more serious in other ways the alcoholism. This article isn't saying that having one drink is going to cause your telomeres to dramatically shorten and cause a genetic mutation. This article is more of a warning that alcoholism can pose as a greater risk to health than we may have thought. So think twice before you drink that whole bottle of vodka next weekend it may not be worth it.
By Valerie Silva