A new research study performed at the University of Missouri shows that binge drinking can alter liver proteins, and this can cause cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. According to the lead research study author, Shivendra Shukla, Ph.D., “We know that chronic alcohol use is damaging to the liver, but binge drinking amplifies that damage. Our latest research shows that epigenetic modifications in histone structures occur within the liver as a result of heavy binge drinking. Epigenetic alterations are changes in genes that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence or genetic code.” Binge drinking causes liver tissues to undergo genetic changes, and one of the most common factors with chronic liver failure is excessive alcohol consumption. The damage to the liver that is caused by excessive drinking can not be repaired or reversed.
The research study on binge drinking and liver damage can be found in the journal Hepatology International. Dr. Shukla also stated “Every response in the body is due to alterations in proteins. Binge drinking is an environmental trigger that negatively affects histones by altering the correct binding of DNA. The result is unnecessary replication in the copied structure. This initially causes inflammation and damage to the cells as they form, but it is also eventually the cause of more serious diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer.” The study author also explained “Binge drinking can create an inflammatory response in the liver that is like a cluster bomb, sending out various damaging signals to other organ systems in the body. If those organs are working at a lower level of function, then a whole host of physiological processes are affected as a consequence of binge drinking.”