Drinking genes: Alcoholism in the family

Your genes determine whether you get drunk after drinking.
Your genes determine whether you get drunk after drinking.

I wonder about drinking genes. Alcoholism seems to run in my family. Several of my relatives died from cirrhosis, an illness related to alcoholism. Thank goodness, I’m not much of a drinker. But my mom told me she worried that I might be at risk because I was born drunk. Well, truthfully, she was drunk when I was born. She said her excuse was that I took too long to be born. She said that she drank a full bottle of wine during her ninth month of pregnancy with me. Finally, I popped out several weeks overdue! I have always limited my alcohol intake because it makes my face and neck flush and my heart race. Knowing your family’s health problems, especially with alcohol, proves why genealogy is good for your health.

Scientists have proven that there are several genes related to alcohol metabolism.

“Multiple genes play a role in a person’s risk for developing alcoholism. There are genes that increase a person’s risk, as well as those that may decrease that risk, directly or indirectly. For instance, some people of Asian descent carry a gene variant that alters their rate of alcohol metabolism, causing them to have symptoms like flushing, nausea, and rapid heartbeat when they drink. Many people who experience these effects avoid alcohol, which helps protect them from developing alcoholism.” Click here to read more.

Book cover about underage drinking and peer pressure. Go to:http://www.thecoolspot.gov/
Book cover about underage drinking and peer pressure. Go to:http://www.thecoolspot.gov/

How do you know if your child will become an alcoholic? Key genes play a role in alcohol dependence.

“Today, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute announced they’ve identified a key gene that appears to strongly influence the development of alcoholism and alcohol dependence. The research could prove key to zeroing in on how increased risk for alcoholism runs in families. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, sheds considerable light on genetic variations and how they predict who becomes dependent on alcohol and the severity of the disease. (Yes, alcohol is a disease.)”  To read more click here.

What about hangovers? Yes, there’s a gene for that too.

“Some people get hangovers after a night of drinking, while others don’t, and the reason may be in their genes, a new study of twins in Australia suggests. Researchers looked for links between the study participants’ genetic makeups and the number of hangovers the individuals reported experiencing in the past year. The results showed that genetic factors accounted for 45 percent of the difference in hangover frequency in women and 40 percent in men. Click here to learn more.

For a list of family illnesses caused by heavy drinking, click here.

Do you have drinking genes in your family?