New study offers evidence that alcohol accelerates biological aging
Scientists from Oxford University have offered evidence that alcohol directly accelerates aging by damaging DNA in telomeres.
Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences that cap the end of chromosomes, protecting them from damage. Telomere length is considered a potential biological marker of aging.
Telomeres that are too short prevent cells from dividing and may even cause them to die. Shorter telomeres have been associated with Alzheimer’s, cancer, and coronary artery disease, among other aging-related disorders.
In this study, scientists studied the association between alcohol intake and telomere length in over 245,000 participants in the UK Biobank. Using a genetic approach called Mendelian Randomisation (MR) to determine the effects of alcohol on aging.
This is the first time this method has been used to determine the association between alcohol intake and aging. The approach uses ‘genetic proxies’ to predict each participant’s exposure level.