The benefits of drinking coffee and alcohol in regards to human health has been a controversial topic in the health industry for many years. Some studies have shown that coffee can have adverse effects on the heart and central nervous system, whereas others have shown that a cup of coffee per day can prevent certain types of disease such as type 2 diabetes. Studies on alcohol have been just as inconsistent, although recent evidence shows that moderate drinking in the form of 1 or 2 drinks per day is good for overall cardiovascular health.

A new study conducted by researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology has found that coffee has the ability to shorten telomeres, while alcohol can lengthen telomeres. This finding could impact future treatments and lifestyle practices that support anti-aging therapies.

Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes that shorten as a person ages. However, certain lifestyle factors can impact the length of telomeres — such as diet, the frequency at which a person exercises, stress, and more.

For the study, which was published in a recent issue of PLOS Genetics, researchers conducted experiments on a series of yeast cells that shared the genetic qualities of those in humans. The yeast cells were exposed to a number of different lifestyle factors that could impact the length of telomeres, including temperature, diet, drugs, chemicals, and more.

They found that exposing telomeres to the amount of caffeine found in a shot of espresso shortened telomeres, whereas exposing telomeres to between a 5 and 7% solution of alcohol lengthened telomeres considerably.

Despite their findings, the researchers at Tel Aviv say that no cause-and-effect relationship has been identified between telomere length and intake of coffee and alcohol. Until the link has been examined in further detail, scientists recommend that people continue to drink moderate amounts of coffee and alcohol to avoid experiencing serious health complications.

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