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Thread: Alcohol Damages DNA

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.

    Alcohol Damages DNA

    According to a new study, consuming alcohol has been attributed to seven types of cancer. Moreover, it can cause mutations in stem cells, and damage chromosomes. When we consume alcohol, the body produces a chemical known as acetaldehyde, which causes genetic damage. Acetaldehyde is specifically harmful to blood stem cells; risking permanent damage by altering DNA and rearranging chromosomes. However, as a defense against this, some individuals utilize enzymes known as aldehyde dehydrogenases. These enzymes can break down the harmful chemical cause by alcohol into acetate; which can be used as energy for cells. Nevertheless, not everyone has a functional version of aldehyde dehydrogenases, or none at all; putting many people at risk.

    http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/alc...dna-05616.html

    Haematopoietic stem cells renew blood. Accumulation of DNA damage in these cells promotes their decline, while misrepair of this damage initiates malignancies. Here we describe the features and mutational landscape of DNA damage caused by acetaldehyde, an endogenous and alcohol-derived metabolite. This damage results in DNA double-stranded breaks that, despite stimulating recombination repair, also cause chromosome rearrangements. We combined transplantation of single haematopoietic stem cells with whole-genome sequencing to show that this damage occurs in stem cells, leading to deletions and rearrangements that are indicative of microhomology-mediated end-joining repair. Moreover, deletion of p53 completely rescues the survival of aldehyde-stressed and mutated haematopoietic stem cells, but does not change the pattern or the intensity of genome instability within individual stem cells. These findings characterize the mutation of the stem-cell genome by an alcohol-derived and endogenous source of DNA damage. Furthermore, we identify how the choice of DNA-repair pathway and a stringent p53 response limit the transmission of aldehyde-induced mutations in stem cells.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25154

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    I'm scared after reading this (not to put you at fault, you did nothing wrong). I've been reducing my own intake for about a month, and I've been doing phenomenally well at the gym, but I do experience paranoia and heightened agitation but then again sinus issues show up during winter which can add. I heard of this one drug treatment centers give to treat alcohol abuse, but I'm not sure if replacing drugs with drugs is a good idea. I'll have to read more into that. I'm not an alcoholic, I drink for the enjoyment btw.

    I wouldn't suggest alcohol abuse to anyone. Sorry for straying from the topic.
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    Genetics may play a role. Certain ethnic groups can't handle alcohol as well as others.

    There's a high rate of fetal alcohol syndrome among Native American newborns, although I don't know if that is just a corollary of higher rates of alcoholism or if it in fact is more damaging for these mothers.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Genetics may play a role. Certain ethnic groups can't handle alcohol as well as others.

    There's a high rate of fetal alcohol syndrome among Native American newborns, although I don't know if that is just a corollary of higher rates of alcoholism or if it in fact is more damaging for these mothers.
    True, also the flush that many East Asians experience must be an indication that they lack the enzymes necessary for breaking down the acetaldehyde into acetate.

    The first line of defense is a family of enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH).

    These enzymes break down harmful acetaldehyde into acetate, which our cells can use as a source of energy. Millions of people either lack these enzymes or carry faulty versions of them. So, when they drink, acetaldehyde builds up which causes a flushed complexion, and also leads to them feeling unwell.

    http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/alc...dna-05616.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    True, also the flush that many East Asians experience must be an indication that they lack the enzymes necessary for breaking down the acetaldehyde into acetate.
    So I must have those then. I've never once felt any unpleasant symptoms or blushing from drinking. Never ever. But I guess the drawback of this enzyme is that it may encourage someone to drink even more. There's always trade offs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    True, also the flush that many East Asians experience must be an indication that they lack the enzymes necessary for breaking down the acetaldehyde into acetate.
    I don't know how Native Americans fit into all this, though. If it makes them feel unwell, why do they drink so much?

    Too much alcohol doesn't agree with me either, which is why I only drink a glass of wine or a single drink when I'm having dinner or I'm at a party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I don't know how Native Americans fit into all this, though. If it makes them feel unwell, why do they drink so much?

    Too much alcohol doesn't agree with me either, which is why I only drink a glass of wine or a single drink when I'm having dinner or I'm at a party.
    I did a quick search and dug this up, it explains the genetics behind certain Asian groups, and native americans:


    The quest for genes that influence alcohol abuse follows two paths. One goal is to locate genes that predispose a person to alcoholism. The other is to identify genes that help to prevent this from happening. Li and his coworkers have made important advances in this latter category. "We have identified two genes that protect against heavy drinking, and these are particularly prevalent among Asians," Li says. "We have shown that Native Americans, who have a high rate of alcoholism, do not have these protective genes. The one that is particularly effective is a mutation of the gene for the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which plays a major role in metabolizing alcohol. The mutation is found very frequently in Chinese and Japanese populations but is less common among other Asian groups, including Koreans, the Malayo-Polynesian group, and others native to the Pacific Rim. "We've also looked at Euro-Americans, Native Americans, and Eskimos, and they don't have that gene mutation," says Li. Thus, incidentally, the study of genetic mutations and alcoholism links native North-American populations to central Asian ancestors, not to those from China and Japan.

    http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v17n3/p18.html
    I stay away from drinking too much as well. I actually just drink wine now on week days; perhaps a glass or two a day. They say two is good for men. But I will have a couple beers with friends on a weekend, though not to excess.

    EDIT:
    Okay, I'm very confused now, because apparently according to this link I found Chinese and Japanese can in fact metabolize alcohol. But it's the other asian groups that cannot, including Native Americans.
    Last edited by Jovialis; 11-01-18 at 04:54. Reason: grammar

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    There's a contradiction here-one post says that the flushing reaction is due to lack of that enzyme which causes flushing, yet another post says that it's common amongst the Chinese. Why do they still flush?

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    A: Sometimes called the Asian flush or Asian glow because it is very common in people from East Asia (such as China, Japan, and Korea), this reaction occurs when a person has trouble metabolizing alcohol because of a genetic variant that impairs production of an enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol in the liver. As a result, acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol, isn’t broken down to harmless acetic acid, but instead builds up in the blood and liver. This dilates blood vessels, leading to flushing (redness and heat) in the face, neck, and sometimes shoulders and entire body. Headaches, dizziness, palpitations, and nausea may also occur.

    http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/asians-and-alcohol
    Berkeley seems to include Chinese and Japanese into the group that cannot properly metabolize alcohol. Which to me makes sense.

    About 50 percent of the Japanese, Korean, and Northeastern Chinese population experience a phenomenon called the Alcohol Flush Reaction (AFR), or what is commonly known as “Asian glow.”
    http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/0...es-asian-glow/

    Yale confirms this as well.

    I'm inclined to believe these two sources over the one from Indiana.

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    But it still says that it's common in East Asians including Chinese and Japanese, its so common it has its own nickname; yet they supposedly have the enzymes that can break down the alcohol and avoid the flush.

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    https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi....2012.12010113

    Evidence for the heritability of alcohol and drug dependence was found. Linkage analyses revealed that genes influencing risk for substance dependence and related phenotypes, such as body mass index (BMI), drug tolerance, EEG patterns, and externalizing traits, reside on several chromosome regions identified in other population samples. Overlap in the gene locations for substance dependence and BMI suggests that a common genetic substrate may exist for disorders of consumption. Studies of the genes that code for alcohol-metabolizing enzymes have not revealed any risk variants specific to Native American populations, although most Native Americans lack protective variants seen in other populations. Other candidate genes associated with substance dependence phenotypes in Native Americans include OPRM1, CRN1, COMT, GABRA2, MAOA, and HTR3-B.
    @Angela, I believe I may have found a study that helps to explain the genetic high-rate of alcohol dependency for Native Americans.

    Quote Originally Posted by davef View Post
    But it still says that it's common in East Asians including Chinese and Japanese, its so common it has its own nickname; yet they supposedly have the enzymes that can break down the alcohol and avoid the flush.
    The two other sources from Berkeley and Yale, I posted seem to contradict this weird claim from Indiana, in regards to Chinese and Japanese. Many cannot in fact metabolize alcohol.

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    The University of Indiana page is saying the same thing as the other sources, they are not contradicting each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    The University of Indiana page is saying the same thing as the other sources, they are not contradicting each other.
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something here, but how so?

    this is what Indiana is saying:

    "The one that is particularly effective is a mutation of the gene for the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which plays a major role in metabolizing alcohol. The mutation is found very frequently in Chinese and Japanese populations but is less common among other Asian groups, including Koreans, the Malayo-Polynesian group, and others native to the Pacific Rim."


    Indiana is indicating that the Chinese and Japanese commonly have this gene for metabolizing alcohol. The other sources are not making this distinction between the Asian groups. Saying they all have high rates of flush, which is caused by a lack of this gene.

    AFAIK Chinese and Japanese have low-rates of the ezyme aldehyde dehydrogenase.
    Last edited by Jovialis; 11-01-18 at 06:32.

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    It's pretty unusual to actually be missing an entire gene. For the most part everyone has all the same genes (except obviously Y chromosomal genes). The gene can produce less of the enzyme, or none, or code for an ineffective version of the enzyme. A small mutation, a single SNP, is enough to do that - to actuall remove a gene would be a gigantic deletion.

    East Asians *have* the gene - probably *fish* have the gene - what's common among them is a mutation which makes it not work properly, as mutations usually do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    It's pretty unusual to actually be missing an entire gene. For the most part everyone has all the same genes (except obviously Y chromosomal genes). The gene can produce less of the enzyme, or none, or code for an ineffective version of the enzyme. A small mutation, a single SNP, is enough to do that - to actuall remove a gene would be a gigantic deletion.

    East Asians *have* the gene - probably *fish* have the gene - what's common among them is a mutation which makes it not work properly, as mutations usually do.
    Yea, that's fine, I'm not claiming to be an expert; I didn't go to school for this. But I still fail to see how the Indiana source is not violating what the others are saying.

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    OK, the Indiana source says that Chinese and Japanese very often have a mutation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase gene. This is the mutation that makes the enzyme inactive, mucks up alcohol metabolism, and cause the flush reaction. Most people, including Native Americans, have the normal, functional version of the gene without that mutation. I still don't understand what it is saying differently?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    OK, the Indiana source says that Chinese and Japanese very often have a mutation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase gene. This is the mutation that makes the enzyme inactive, mucks up alcohol metabolism, and cause the flush reaction. Most people, including Native Americans, have the normal, functional version of the gene without that mutation. I still don't understand what it is saying differently?

    "The quest for genes that influence alcohol abuse follows two paths. One goal is to locate genes that predispose a person to alcoholism. The other is to identify genes that help to prevent this from happening. Li and his coworkers have made important advances in this latter category. "We have identified two genes that protect against heavy drinking, and these are particularly prevalent among Asians," Li says. "We have shown that Native Americans, who have a high rate of alcoholism, do not have these protective genes. The one that is particularly effective is a mutation of the gene for the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which plays a major role in metabolizing alcohol. The mutation is found very frequently in Chinese and Japanese populations but is less common among other Asian groups, including Koreans, the Malayo-Polynesian group, and others native to the Pacific Rim. "We've also looked at Euro-Americans, Native Americans, and Eskimos, and they don't have that gene mutation," says Li. Thus, incidentally, the study of genetic mutations and alcoholism links native North-American populations to central Asian ancestors, not to those from China and Japan."
    http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v17n3/p18.html

    Well, it looks like this article is also saying native Americans don't *have* certain genes too ; ) so forgive me if that's wrong, but that's how I read it from the source. I may not be the most adept in this subject, but I know how to read.

    At any rate, what is effective is the mutations of one of the protection genes that produces the enzyme that processes alcohol into acetate. It's saying the mutation (that metabolizes alcohol) is "very frequent" in Chinese and Japanese (Meaning they are able to process it, which is not true and contradicts the other sources.) But "less common" in the other groups of Asians.

    How are you reading it? There's nowhere in the quote that said this mutation inactivates the enzyme for Chinese and Japanese. It's saying the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Well, it looks like this article is also saying native Americans don't *have* certain genes too ; ) so forgive me if that's wrong, but that's how I read it from the source. I may not be the most adept in this subject, but I know how to read.
    No, you are right, this is sloppy wording on the part of the author. He means they do not have the protective variant of those genes. A common but misleading way of talking. For instance you may hear people talking about "having the gene for blue eyes"; but the gene that is affected, which everyone has, produces brown eyes when working at full capacity, and the actual blue eye mutation isn't even in that gene.

    At any rate, what is effective is the mutations of one of the protection genes that produces the enzyme that processes alcohol into acetate. It's saying the mutation (that metabolizes alcohol) is "very frequent" in Chinese and Japanese (Meaning they are able to process it, which is not true and contradicts the other sources.) But "less common" in the other groups of Asians.
    Ah, okay, it doesn't say that. It says that the gene is important for alcohol metabolism, not that the mutation is. This is kind of ambiguous so I can see how it was confusing. In the next paragraph it says:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ting-Kai Li
    As expected, this aversive reaction affects drinking behaviour, and the mutant gene therefore serves as protection against heavy drinking and alcoholism.

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    My friend showed me this article on how wine drinkers have a higher chance of cancer. It says, "The cause is above all the transformation of ethanol in alcohol to acetaldehyde, which damages DNA in healthy cells. " So how does it damage the DNA? Can someone explain this process? I'm a science major and I've never heard of that?

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Scientists have shown how alcohol damages DNA in stem cells, helping to explain why drinking increases your risk of cancer, according to new research. They then used chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing to examine the genetic damage caused by acetaldehyde, a harmful chemical produced when the body processes alcohol.

    This is the reason why people should drink moderately.

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    Yes, don't be an alchy

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