Why alcohol makes people age faster

The more people drink, the more their cells appear to age, according to scientists who say this may partly explain why alcoholics are at risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

The Japanese scientists have completed a study that provides evidence that alcoholic patients have a shortened telomere length.

“[This] means that heavy drinking causes biological ageing at a cellular level," says lead author Dr Naruhisa Yamaki of the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine.

"It is alcohol rather than acetaldehyde that is associated with a shortened telomere length."

Dr Yamaki and his team have also found an association between telomere shortening and thiamine deficiency (TD).

“TD is known to cause neuron impairments such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome — although how exactly TD can cause neural impairments is unclear,” he says.