A lot of research that has been done in cell cultures in the past has shown that there are very clear ways that alcohol can lead to cancer. In other studies, researchers have used mice to find out how exposure to alcohol leads to permanent damage to one’s DNA.
Scientists have performed studies on mice to determine if their genes were damaged when they were given acetaldehyde, which is a harmful chemical that is produced when the body breaks down alcohol. The researchers concluded that this chemical has the ability to harm the DNA that is inside of blood stem cells. This can then lead to chromosomes becoming out of order and result in a permanent DNA sequence change. The reason it is important to know how DNA inside the stem cells is damaged is that when healthy stem cells deteriorate, they can lead to cancer.
These new findings help researchers understand how drinking alcohol may increase the risk of developing several different types of cancer, including common types such as breast cancer and colon cancer.
Experts claim that some cancers may develop due to damaged DNA in stem cells. It is true that some damage can happen by chance, but findings have suggested that drinking alcohol increases the risk of this damage occurring.
Researchers also look at how the human body tries to protect itself against the damage that is caused by alcohol. The body first uses a group of enzymes that work to deconstruct the harmful enzymes in the body into a substance that the body can turn into energy.
However, many people around the world, especially people born in South East Asia, lack these beneficial enzymes or have versions of the enzymes that do not work correctly. This means that when they drink, the enzymes build up and lead to a flushed complexion and can cause people of this racial descent to feel sick.
In this study, mice who did not have this crucial ALDH enzyme were given alcohol as well. The alcohol caused four times as much DNA damage in the cells of these mice compared to mice who had healthy ALDH2 enzymes.
Cells also have a variety of repair systems for their DNA that acts as another line of defense. These systems often help cells fix and even reverse the damage that has been done to the DNA, however, they are not always effective. Additionally, these restorative cells do not always work, and people may carry mutations of these cells, meaning that the cells are not able to work effectively.
This study highlights the fact that being unable to properly process alcohol may cause someone to have an even more increased risk of having damaged DNA in their stem cells due to alcohol consumption. This means that these people are also at a higher risk for developing certain cancers.
It is important to consider the fact that alcohol clearing and the systems in the body that help repair DNA have their imperfections, and alcohol may still lead to cancer in other ways, even in those who have a well-working defense mechanism system.
This research highlights the damage that alcohol can have on the DNA in our stem cells, causing some people to have much more significant health issues than others.
The best thing for people to do who are already at risk for developing cancer is to avoid drinking alcohol.