05 Mar Alcohol Damages Stem Cells and Increases Cancer Risk
The pain experts at Integrated Pain Consultants are constantly poring over the latest research on cancer and its potential risk factors. A recent study by British scientists featured in the NY Post discusses how alcohol consumption might produce a dangerous bodily chemical that can cause lasting damage to stem cells. This may lead to an increased risk of cancer according to the researchers. UK scientist tested this theory on lab mice, analyzing what kind of genetic damage acetaldehyde may cause. Acetaldehyde occurs when the body metabolizes alcohol.
Their findings? Drinking alcohol may increase the risks of seven kinds of cancers, including the relatively common breast and bowel cancer. The study also showcased how the body works to protect itself from the damaging effects of alcohol. According to a professor at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Dr. Ketan Patel, “Some cancers develop due to DNA damage in stem cells. While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol is a “Group 1 carcinogen” because there’s “convincing evidence” that it can lead to cancer. This latest study is backed by previous research from 2011 that suggested alcohol is the source of four percent of cancer diagnoses in the U.K. That’s about 12,800 diagnoses each year in Britain alone.
The full findings can be found in the Nature journal. The researchers gave mice diluted alcohol then watched the effects closely. Acetaldehyde has the ability to break down DNA permanently, which means permanent changes to DNA sequences. Damaged stem cells can lead to cancerous cells. However, the body will also fight to defend itself. First, protective enzymes dubbed aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) work to disintegrate the acetaldehyde. It’s turned into acetate, a safe form of energy. In the study, the mice who were given alcohol experienced four times more damage when they didn’t have ALDH enzymes while “imbibing” compared to those who did.
The body will also protect itself via a complex DNA repair system. However, some people don’t have highly functioning repair systems. For those who do suffer from pain related to cancer, there are options-including safe alternatives that encourage the body to help itself.
Cancer Pain Treatment at Integrated Pain Consultants
Increasingly, amniotic stem cell treatment is being used as part of a holistic cancer treatment plan. It uses the body’s own amniotic stem cells, concentrates them, and injects them directly into the treatment site to kickstart organic healing. If you’d like to know more, call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552.