Do you like to unwind with a drink at the end of the day? New research may have you rethinking your nightcap habit. Drinking more than 17 units — which is equal to about five large glasses of wine or eight pints of beer — in a week could damage your DNA and speed up the aging process, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Oxford in England looked at the link between alcohol intake and telomere length in more than 245-thousand participants with an average age of 57. Telomeres are like “protective caps” at the end of a chromosome and telomere length is considered a marker of biological aging and previous research shows an association between shorter telomere length and aging-related health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and coronary artery disease.
The results of this study show:
- Drinking alcohol in excess can negatively impact DNA by causing damage to telomeres, which could eventually lead to those age-related diseases.
- The top 40% of drinkers — those who consumed more than 17 units a week — had shorter telomere length caused by drinking alcohol.
- On the flip side, the other 60% — who drank less than 17 units a week — didn’t show that genetic damage.
- Researchers found that increasing alcohol consumption from 10 units to 32 units a week is associated with the equivalent of three years of aging.
“Our results provide another piece of information for clinicians and patients seeking to reduce the harmful effects of excess alcohol,” study author Dr. Anya Topiwala explains. “Furthermore, the dose of alcohol is important — even reducing drinking could have benefits.”
Source: NY Post