Does alcohol consumption lead to shorter telomeres?

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a number of health problems, most notably perhaps are liver damage and obesity. The excessive calories in alcohol are the main cause of obesity in heavy drinkers, with even just one shot of vodka having almost 100 calories. By damaging cells in the liver, which is responsible for breaking own alcohol so it can be removed from the body, alcohol consumption is linked to 37% of liver-disease related deaths.

So it is quite clear that excessive alcohol consumption is bad for the body, but there is another side of the story. Red wine, in particular, has a strong following of believers that one or two glasses a night is actually good for the body. Today we will explore both sides of the story, and how they relate to telomere function.

As is turns out, individuals who excessively consumer alcohol (especially those who drink more than four alcoholic beverages a day) were shown to have shorter telomeres than control subjects who did not excessively drink alcohol. They were also more likely to develop early-onset of ageing related diseases, including cancer.

But what about light consumption of the alcohol most related to the Mediterranean diet: red wine? Resveratrol, which is found in the skin of grapes used for making wine, has been suggested to combat cardiovascular-diseases and ageing. Well, here the answer, when related to telomeres, is not so clear.

It appears that resveratrol may lead to increased regulation of telomerase exhibition. Increased telomerase exhibition is charged with maintaining long telomeres, while resveratrol may limit the exhibition of telomerase activity. The health benefit of this is that excessive telomerase exhibition is also related to the development of cancer cells since it can allow cells to multiply unregulated: this is why drinking red-wine in moderation has been associated with a lesser risk for developing cancers.

So does this mean that consumption of red wine won’t help you live longer? The simplest way to look at it is this: comprehensive lifestyle changes, such as following the Mediterranean diet overall, rather than changing one small aspect of diet alone, is most likely to have a positive effect on telomere length, health, and longevity. At this time the evidence appears to support reducing alcohol consumption, whether red wine or a fine whiskey served neat, as a worthwhile anti-ageing strategy.

Right now, Titanovo is offering its telomere length test at Indiegogo! Please visit our campaign by clicking here and consider measuring your own telomeres to determine what lifestyle interventions benefit you, personally!

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