While excessive intake of Alcohol may result in a variety of pathological effects, including damage to the liver, brain or other organs, and is associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers.
Some scientists have shown how alcohol damages DNA in the stem cells, helping to explain why drinking increases the risk of body breakdown.
They used Chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing to examine the genetic damage caused by Acetaldehyde, a harmful chemical that is produced when the body processes alcohol.
But there have been few revelations regarding the alcohol consumption and associated problems at microbiology level and certainly not the changes visible by naked Human eye.
Firstly, a distinguished professor has told:
“We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more. 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.”
By comparing groups of moderate, binge and heavy drinkers, the Researchers have found that the two genes had changed in the binge and heavy drinkers through an alcohol-influenced gene modification process called methylation.
AUD(Alcohol Use Disorder) induces DNA methylation, or the addition of methyl groups to DNA, which causes changes in the DNA but does not change the Human genome sequence itself.
Gene accounts for synthesis of related protein that subsequently triggers the desired change in the body. There are only 1.5% such genes in the Human genome.
Once a gene changes, the associated protein may or may not be produced to fulfil the desired gene function.
The binge and heavy drinkers also showed significant reductions in gene expression, or the rate at which these genes create proteins. These changes increased with greater alcohol intake, triggered as a further Chain Reaction.
Secondly, according to a new study from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru and discussed in “American Journal of Medical Genetics”.
These aforesaid changes made in the Human DNA will be retained and preserved for at least three months during both complete withdrawal and reduction in consumption, even after proper standard treatment.
Thirdly, the team also found that the amount of DNA did correlate with the age of first exposure to alcohol consumption. It means that if one started Alcohol consumption early, then He/She is better suited for such DNA change.
However it is to note that the Scientists involved with the study did not observe methylation in the brain but only in the blood of the patients involved.
According to World Health Organization(WHO), more than 3 million people die from the harmful use of alcohol. That is 5 percent of all annual global deaths.
In India, 29 per cent of men aged 15 to 54 consume alcohol — 12 per cent do so daily and 41 per cent do so weekly.