Binge and heavy drinking can cause long-lasting DNA change which leads to more craving for alcohol thus explaining why alcoholism is a powerful addiction.
In a new study published in the journal Alcoholism:Clinical &Experimental Research, the researchers centred on two genes involved in the control of drinking behavior: POMC that regulates our stress-response system and PER2 which affects the body’s biological clock.
The researchers from Rutgers and Yale University School of medicine, US, compared moderate, binge and heavy drinkers in contrast with the two genes.
The results revealed that in binge and heavy drinkers the two genes had changed through an alcohol-influenced gene modification process called methylation.
The changes increased with greater alcohol consumption causing reductions at the rate these genes created protein.
“We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said Professor Dipak Sarkar the lead author from Rutgers University.
“This may explain why alcoholism is a strong addiction and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent people who are at risk of becoming alcoholics,” said Prof Sarkar.
This revelation may aid researchers identify measurable indicators such as modified genes that could predict a person’s risk for heavy drinking.
World Health Organization in 2016 report indicated that more than 3 million people died from harmful use of alcohol, with three-quarters of the death being from men.
Unhealthy consumption of alcohol also caused 5.1 percent of the worldwide count of disease and injuries.