DRINKING

Drinking Link to DNA Damage Confirmed

Sipping your health away, one cell at a time

Edward Thomas
ILLUMINATION
Published in
2 min readMay 1, 2024

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Research conducted at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science has confirmed the link between drinking alcohol and damage to human cell DNA. The damage is caused by acetaldehyde; an organic compound listed as a Group 1 (which also includes asbestos, radiation, and tobacco) carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Group 1 is the highest-risk group, which also includes asbestos, radiation, and tobacco.

Five people holding their drinks up as a toast.
Source: CANVA

What is acetaldehyde?

Acetaldehyde is produced by the partial oxidation of ethanol by the human liver and is a contributing cause of hangovers following alcohol consumption.

When researchers exposed human immune cells with disabled DNA repair genes and normal immune cells to acetaldehyde, they found that the cells with disabled genes were about three times more likely to die compared to the normal cells.

Cells exposed to acetaldehyde also exhibited abnormal chromosome structures that are frequently found in cancer cells. Previous research has shown that repeated DNA damage and repair also accelerate aging.

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Edward Thomas
ILLUMINATION

Chicago | Japan since 1969 | Japanese>English translator, editor | Teaches English at Japanese University. | Buy me a ko-fi @ ko-fi.com/edwardthomas