Man's love of alcohol is truly immortal: archaeologists have discovered that our affair with the green serpent began about 9,000 years ago. Evidence of alcohol consumption has been found in almost every society throughout history. Today, a culture of drinking alcohol is also present in almost all countries of the world. And this despite the results of numerous studies, according to which the use of even the smallest doses of alcohol is harmful to health. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, alcohol belongs to the 1st group of carcinogens, along with smoking. Does even a small glass of beer or wine increase the risk of cancer? Scientists think so.
Moderate alcohol consumption is unhealthy
According to WHO due to excessiveabout three million people die every year in the world. A number of recent studies have linked an increased risk of cancer with what many call moderate alcohol consumption. For example, in 2015, scientists from Harvard published the results of a study in which specialists observed the health status of 88 084 women and 47 881 men for 30 years. They found that mild or moderate drinking is associated with an increased risk of cancer. Recall that moderate consumption of alcohol for men is considered to be no more than 40 g of pure alcohol per day (about 2 bottles of beer, 100 ml of vodka or 3 glasses of dry wine). And for women - 30 g of pure alcohol (1.5 bottles of beer or 80 g of vodka, 2 glasses of dry wine). It turns out that even one bottle of beer per day increases the risk of cancer.
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The same study revealed a particularly high risk.cancer development in women. So, regular drinking increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 13%. Two alcoholic drinks per day also increased the risk of cancer among male smokers. However, the study did not reveal a higher risk among those who never smoked. Moreover, according to the results of a meta-analysis of 700 studies in 2018, any amount of alcohol is harmful to health.
Why is alcohol carcinogenic?
Researchers Associate Alcohol with Such Speciescancer like cancer of the breast, colon, rectum and liver, as well as cancer of the mouth and esophagus. Moreover, a recent study in mice sheds light on the mechanisms that underlie how alcohol causes cancer. As the body processes alcohol, it turns into acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance and a known carcinogen.
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Acetaldehyde permanently damages DNA in stemblood cells, which leads to the rearrangement of chromosomes and constant changes in the DNA sequence. And damaged DNA can lead to cancer. Also, alcohol can impair a person’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, as well as increase the level of estrogen, a female sex hormone associated with the development of breast cancer. However, the risk of drinking alcohol is not universal. Some people who drink heavily do not develop cancer, while those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol may eventually develop cancer. Researchers believe that genetic differences can influence this, which determine how the body breaks down alcohol.
Will people stop drinking alcohol?
Will people give up alcohol if theyRecognize the strong link between alcohol and cancer? Hard to say. But a survey of Australian middle-aged women in 2019 showed that warnings of an increased risk of cancer would probably not make them drink less. But the negative impact on weight, relationships and lifestyle is likely to make them abstain, women said. But, as previous public health campaigns have shown, people cannot change their minds overnight. Continuous efforts are needed to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer. But nobody is going to ban alcohol.