Five Alcoholic Drinks a Week Will Age You

We don’t like to tell our customers what to do. When it comes to your life choices, we feel that you know your body and health history far better than we ever could. But recently, a lot of research has been coming out against drinking. Drinking or not drinking is a personal choice you must make based on your lifestyle, beliefs, health needs and history.

However, research has been mounting that it might not be good for anyone regardless of how they feel about it morally. Recently we wrote a blog about how new research found it was universally unhealthy for younger adults to drink. The risk of health problems far outweighed any potential heart or blood sugar benefits drinking could offer people under the age of 40.

New research has found that 17 units of alcohol a week ages the DNA. That amount of alcohol is five large glasses of wine or eight pints of beer. For people who drink daily, that’s not an unreasonable amount. Yet, that level of consumption damages the protective caps of the chromosomes called telomeres. That, in turn, can lead to age-related illnesses and some cancers.

The telomeres’ length is considered a sign of a person’s biological age. When they are too short, cells can’t divide and may die. This has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, coronary artery disease and other age-related health problems.

The average age of the people in the study was 57. More than 245,000 participants were involved. Only three percent had never drank, four percent had quit drinking the rest were current drinkers. The researchers found that drinking an average of 17 units of alcohol a week was linked to adding three biological years of age to a person’s age.

Our results provide another piece of information for clinicians and patients seeking to reduce the harmful effects of excess alcohol,” said Dr. Anya Topiwala of Oxford Univ. “Furthermore, the dose of alcohol is important — even reducing drinking could have benefits.”

The length of the telomeres was only significantly impacted in people who drank more than 17 units a week. That means, at least according to this study, an occasional glass of wine or beer isn’t harmful to aging. As alcohol can have religious uses and is a part of people’s cultures, drinking or not is a deeply personal choice. But, this study proves that daily drinking may not be as healthy as older studies have suggested.

Banner image: Kelsey Knight via Unsplash

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