Next time you congratulate yourself for choosing a coffee over a beer, you might want to think again.
Researchers have discovered that caffeine can shorten life expectancy, while alcohol can increase it.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University found that caffeine shortens, and alcohol lengthens, telomeres – the end parts of chromosomal DNA. Just as the plastics tips of shoelaces prevent fraying, telomeres keep chromosomes stable and prevent deterioration when the cells containing them divide. Telomeres become shorter as a person gets older as every time a cell duplicates, the chromosomes are copied into the new cell with slightly shorter telomeres. When the telomeres become too short, the cell dies.
Shorter telomeres are associated with poor health and an increased chance of premature death.
‘For the first time we've identified a few environmental factors that alter telomere length, and we've shown how they do it,’ said Professor Martin Kupiec. ‘What we learned may one day contribute to the prevention and treatment of human diseases.’ The researchers set out to establish if different environmental factors had an impact on telomere length in yeast cells.
Source - Daily Mail