- Snacking and drinking can cause long-term genetic changes.
- A new study suggests that certain genes are damaged from drinking, which produce certain proteins.
- These changes may make us want to drink more.
Alcoholism was associated with certain genes in scientific research, which suggests the presence of a hereditary component in dependence. According to a new study, drinking large amounts of alcohol can affect our genes.
A study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research was conducted by Rutgers University. This was a small study in which only 47 people participated, but the results showed that drinking can cause long-term genetic changes that lead to more alcohol.
“We found that people who drink a lot can change their DNA in a way that makes them crave more alcohol,” said senior research author Deepak C. Sarkar. "This can help explain why alcoholism is such a strong addiction, and may one day contribute to new ways of treating alcoholism or help prevent drug addiction."
Read more:Why do you feel like a hangover or “beer fear” after a heavy night drink?
Previous research has shown how alcohol can change the ways in the brain that affect memories and make us want to drink more. But this new study suggests that more and more alcohol leads to further changes in our DNA, which can make the reduction even more difficult.
The team took blood from three groups: moderate drinkers, drunkards and drunkards. Drinking was defined as seven drinks per week for women and 14 drinks per week for men. To be considered a lover of alcohol, women needed to drink at least eight a week, and men – at least 15.
They then analyzed the participants' blood, checking the levels of PER2, the gene that regulated certain brain functions, and the POMC, the gene to produce a stress response protein.
Binge drinking and drunkards had changes in the DNA of these two genes, so it was more difficult for cells to produce the proteins for which they encode. According to the researchers, these changes increased with an increase in alcohol consumption, and participants' desire to drink was increased.
Sarkar told Inverse that in studies on mice, when the PER2 and POMC genes are not expressed, they drink more.
“In animal studies, we have evidence that these two genes are quite actively involved in enhancing alcohol use,” he said. “We believe that this has a profound effect on body functions, as well as on behavior. This led us to believe that this may be due to addictive behavior. ”
The results show a strong correlation, but the researchers can not say exactly what was the cause. Alcoholism is probably the result of many different things, including genes — both hereditary and changes over time.
But, according to researchers, their results can help identify biomarkers in people who may indicate their risk of overeating or drunkenness.