Alcohol has accelerated biological aging

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the UK and the US have found that drinking alcohol contributes to the shortening of telomeres, that is, it brings biological aging closer.

Everyone knows about the dangers of alcohol, but even scientists know little about its impact on biological aging.

It is known to be closely related to the so-called terminal under-replication and remains its most important cause.

Simply put, biological aging depends on the shortening of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes. The fact is that in each cycle of division, cell telomeres are shortened due to the inability of DNA polymerase (an enzyme involved in DNA replication) to synthesize a copy of DNA from the very end. It can only add nucleotides to an already existing 3′-hydroxyl group.

Scientists from Oxford (UK) and Yale (USA) universities decided to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and the process of terminal underreplication.

They presented their findings in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The authors of the work used data on 245,354 participants taken from the British Biobank.

Most of them drank alcohol, four percent were drinkers in the past, and only three percent never drank at all. More than half of the subjects, 51 percent, were men, 49 percent were women, and the median age was 57 years.

The scientists used the method of Mendelian randomization. Increasing the dose (up to 32 units per week) led to an even greater shortening of telomeres – up to three years.

They found that compared to drinking two large 250-milliliter glasses of wine per week (six units), ten of the same glasses (more than 29 units) over the same period of time were associated with a more rapid shortening of telomeres by one to two years.

Individuals diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder had significantly shorter telomeres compared to those who did not suffer from such problems.

However, the relationship between these facts was only significant for those who consumed more than 17 units of alcohol per week.

Shortening of telomeres is associated not only with the fact that a person, for example, looks bad, but also with such serious diseases as Alzheimer’s disease.

Therefore, scientists recommend at least gradually reducing the dose of alcohol for those who have problems with this. Even this measure can prevent premature aging.

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