Why Alcohol Damages Your Genetic Stem Cell DNA and Increases Your Cancer Risk
New research gives alcoholics another good reason to quit their drinking habit in 2018. Alcohol directly damages your DNA, and if that weren’t bad enough, it also increases your cancer risk. These are the consequences of a toxic chemical produced during your body’s attempt to process alcohol.
According to a British study published in the journal, Nature, the consumption of alcohol produces a chemical during the body’s efforts to process it. This chemical called acetaldehyde is very harmful to human health. Acetaldehyde can cause permanent genetic damage in stem cell DNA which leads to an increased risk of cancer. A previous British study conducted in 2011 found evidence that alcohol causes 4 percent of cancer in Britain or 12,800 cases a year to be exact. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies alcohol as a group 1 carcinogen, citing further evidence that alcohol causes cancer in the human body.
British Study Results
British scientists did chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing on mice in a laboratory to examine the damaging genetic effects of acetaldehyde. Their findings showed that acetaldehyde can and does break DNA within blood stem cells. When this occurs, the DNA sequencing is irreparably and permanently altered for the worse.
A family of enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenases or ALDHs were responsible for protecting some of the mice from worse damage by converting acetaldehyde to acetate which their bodies used for energy. The other mice that lacked these enzymes suffered a 4 time increase in damage to their DNA. Humans react to this toxic chemical in the same way. While complex DNA repair systems do exist within our bodies, there are some people that do not possess this ability to fix and reverse DNA damage. Either way, you are still increasing your risk for cancer.
Specifically, acetaldehyde related cancer has been linked to several sites in your body. This includes the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, liver, and colon.
The percentage of deaths related to alcohol and cancer increased by 62% in the past 12 years. In many of these studies, the type of alcohol has not been a factor. This should make you question the supposed health benefits you have heard about drinking a daily glass of wine no matter what the variety.
Alcohol Destroys the Liver
Another danger that alcohol poses to our health is the destruction of our liver. While this probably does not come as a surprise to you, the consequences reach farther than you would expect because alcohol is processed in the liver. Acetaldehyde actually causes cells in your liver to grow so rapidly that they enlarge. Because the liver is an organ involved in converting glucose to a stored form called glycogen, consuming alcohol places you at an increased risk for insulin intolerance and high-blood sugar. Your body metabolizes all alcohol as sugar, period. Here is another aspect to consider: Chinese medicine teaches that the anger emotion is stored in the liver. I don’t think it is a coincidence that alcoholism and violence are synonymous terms.
Drinking alcohol is a loaded gun in more ways than one, and no one should play Russian Roulette with their health. The risks are just too great, and we have only been given one body in which to live our lives. Share this information with others because being proactive about the dangers of alcohol is the only way to save lives and prevent tragedy. Together we can be a voice against it.
Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: 5 Ways to Deter Your Teens from Drinking Alcohol, Wine Claims Are Bogus According to New Research, and Since Going Vegan I Have Not Had Any Real Desire for Alcohol.