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In a cabinet in London’s British Museum nestles a 5,300 year-old wedged-shaped tablet called a cuneiform. Clearly, humanity’s relationship with alcohol stretches back thousands of years, but a long relationship doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy one. We know that alcohol is damaging to our health in a number of ways – including an impact on cancer risk. There’s concrete evidence that it causes cancer and that drinking less reduces your risk of developing the disease.
But we haven’t yet explored the science behind how alcohol affects and damages our cells, and how this can cause the cells in our bodies to develop into cancer. There are seven types of cancer linked to alcohol – bowel, esophageal (food pipe), larynx (voice box), mouth, pharynx (upper throat), breast (in women), and liver. According to Dr Ketan Patel, a Cancer Research UK expert on how alcohol causes cancer: “We don’t really know. The best evidence we have is for mouth and throat cancers where alcoholic drinks directly damage cells in these tissues. And, because alcohol also increases a person’s chances of developing a scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis, it’s thought that this increases their chances of developing liver cancer. There’s also some evidence that certain bacteria in your mouth and throat – and maybe even in the bowel – could be involved in alcohol causing cancer.
And, as we will briefly discuss below, there’s good reason to think that alcohol’s effects on hormone levels might be behind its link to breast cancer. While there may be a perception that the health risks of alcohol only apply to heavy drinkers, research is revealing that it’s not just drinking large amounts of alcohol that increases your chances of developing cancer – drinking small amounts can be harmful too.
Although there’s a lot we still don’t know about how alcohol is linked to different types of cancer, researchers are starting to figure out at least one of the ways that it causes harm. Like most things you eat or drink, alcohol – be it in a pint, shot or cocktail – gets broken down by your cells. In the case of ethanol – the chemical name for the alcohol we drink – it ultimately gets broken down to create energy. First an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) converts ethanol to another molecule – acetaldehyde. This is a relatively straightforward process, and one that evolution has equipped our bodies to handle with ease.
To prevent acetaldehyde building up and damaging DNA, human cells contain three ALDH enzymes – ALDH1A1, ALDH2 and ALDH1B1, which rapidly break down acetaldehyde into acetate. But this protection mechanism can be overwhelmed once alcohol is in the bloodstream, meaning it doesn’t work properly. Thankfully, our cells contain a further layer of protection, in the form of a variety of ‘toolkits’ that can repair damaged DNA (which we’ve discussed at length in this post). Acetaldehyde can also trigger larger-scale changes to our DNA, by messing up entire chromosomes (the technical name for the long strings of DNA in our cells). But if you continuously pour the alcohol into the funnel, without taking time to stop or pause, the funnel will overflow. Similarly, too much alcohol stops the ALDH enzymes and DNA repair pathways from working properly, so the systems become overwhelmed, resulting in a build-up of acetaldehyde, and damage that can lead to cancer. While this neatly explains why certain cancers – such as bowel and liver tumours – are linked to heavy drinking, what’s more of a mystery is why other forms are linked to much lower levels of consumption.

For example, we know that light drinking increases a person’s risk of developing cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract, namely mouth, upper throat and oesophageal cancers. Clearly there’s a lot more work to be done to really understand how the ‘funnel’ idea plays out in different tissues of our bodies, and just how much (or little) alcohol can cause it to ‘overflow’. But as well as acetaldehyde causing DNA damage, there are other ways alcohol can lead to cancer too. But to go back to our funnel, if you drink and smoke there’s more chance of creating an overflow because the body’s systems can’t work fast enough to handle the damage caused by both of them at the same time.
As well as this, there’s also evidence that alcohol can make it easier for the cancer-causing tobacco chemicals found in cigarettes to get into tissue and cells. Alcohol increases a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer – but how and why this happens still isn’t fully understood. One theory is that drinking alcohol affects women’s hormone levels, increasing the amount of estrogen in the body, which is then used by breast cancer cells as fuel for growth. Research is slowly revealing more about how alcohol causes cancer, and the theories we’ve discussed in this post are the ones with the strongest supporting evidence. The best way to reduce the risk of cancer from alcohol is to drink less of it – whether that’s by having more alcohol-free days every week, swapping out some glasses of booze for soft drinks during a night out, or picking lower strength drinks or smaller servings. Discussing one way, scientists are able to attack some cancers by preventing cancer cells from repairing themselves. All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners. Vinegar made from crushed apples helps in maintaining acidic level of the stomach acid in such a way that foods can be easily digested in the stomach. It may take some days for the healing process to start showing its effect, as it is a herbal remedy. Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject. One of the fundamental aspects of a nourishing lifestyle is to maximize your body’s ability to digest and assimilate nutrients.  Eating foods in combinations that promote optimal digestion empowers your body to use the nutrients to fuel biochemical reactions that promote health and wellness, rather than create inflammation, malabsorption, weakened intestinal wall, and an open door to infection and disease. For example, animal foods need an acid environment to fully digest, whereas carbohydrate rich foods need an alkaline environment to digest.  When these foods are eaten together, like a steak and potato kind of meal, the protein and carbohydrates will create a neutral environment where both the protein and carbohydrate will not digest fully or correctly. Holistic Nourishment offers nutrition and lifestyle consultations to couples looking to have a happy, healthy baby. Did you know the culprit for excess acid reflux often isn't stomach acid but a problem with the muscular sphincter that keeps the stomach contents inside the stomach?To reduce the frequency and severity of heart burn eat smaller more frequent meals and reduce the amount of alcohol, caffeine and saturated fats in your diet. This then gets broken down by a second enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), into acetate, which our cells can use as a source of energy.
This means that acetaldehyde doesn’t usually have time to build up or hang around for long enough to cause significant DNA damage. Some people have mistakes or changes in the genetic code of their ALDH enzymes which cause them to malfunction, so acetaldehyde can build up. These are a type of mistake where one base – or ‘letter’ – in a gene is swapped for another. It can cause bits of chromosomes to break off and to swap around, meaning genes end up in the wrong place and don’t work properly – these are also phenomena that can trigger cancer. To visualize how alcohol overwhelms our cellular defenses, imagine you’re pouring alcohol – say red wine – into a glass through a funnel.

It’s thought that the bacteria in our mouth are very good at converting ethanol into acetaldehyde, resulting in a very high level of acetaldehyde, even if only a small bit of booze is drunk.
So it’s not surprising that if someone drinks and smokes, they’re increasing their chances of developing cancer even further.
Acetaldehyde is also a by-product of burning tobacco, as is a second, similar chemical: formaldehyde. Lots of other things affect estrogen levels, including whether the woman is pre- or post-menopausal, the stage of her menstrual cycle and whether she’s taking hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These include changes in folate metabolism, increased production of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species and the role of bacteria in how alcohol is metabolized. The condition where the digestive juices and acids from the stomach flow back to the esophagus is called gastroesophageal reflux disease.
And because DNA is the instruction manual that tells our cells what to do, mistakes in it can lead to cancer.
Essentially, adducts are another type of mutation, and they too can cause cells to become cancerous. But for some cancers, it seems that these two effects in combination are much worse than either by itself. But so far, the exact mechanism that causes this increased risk hasn’t been pinned down,” he says.
We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context.
The sugar content in the apple is converted to produce alcohol, which in turn is converted to form acetic acid. The acetic acid present in it neutralizes the strong hydrochloric acid present in the stomach and also, keeps the lower sphincter valve active to function properly.
The healing and soothing effects of this vinegar aids in getting rid of the harmful toxins in the body.
She is my third baby and the first I was able to carry to full gestation, and I owe it all to Katherine.
If you have any medical concerns, please consult your medical doctor or other health care professional. Most people probably don't have enough stomach acid and then they take antacids, which inhibit the body from producing acid, causing more problems. The first process involves yeast fermentation, while the second process is done by acetic acid fermentation.
It will also help to regulate the pH of the stomach acid from acidic to neutral in a short time.
While antacids may help in alleviating the symptoms, it is believed that one may get relief from acidity and heartburn by taking cider vinegar. The pH of vinegar made from pulverized apples should be maintained below 4.5, to prevent bacterial growth.

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Comments to “Taking digestive enzymes and alcohol consumption”

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