Drinking Alcohol Can More Than Double Your Life Span ... if You're a Worm
Great news, Ricky Gervais.
Alcohol can more than double your lifespan ... if you're a worm.
The brainiacs at UCLA have discovered that giving 1 millimeter-long roundworms just a little nip of hooch dramatically increased their time on earth.
Steven Clarke, a UCLA professor of biochemistry and the senior author of the resulting study, called the find "shocking."
The study was published this week in the online journal PLoS ONE.
Researchers warn that the amount of ethanol, the main ingredient in your cocktail, was small, even when scaled to human proportion. And they said it's not yet clear if this pet trick could translate to human biology.
The worms researchers examined normally live about 15 days but sometimes made it to the ripe old age of 20 and even 40 days after
doing shots of Patron they were given small amounts of ethanol, Clarke said.
They're not sure why. Here's what researcher Shilpi Khare said:
While the mechanism of action is still not clearly understood, our evidence indicates that these 1 millimeter-long roundworms could be utilizing ethanol directly as a precursor for biosynthesis of high-energy metabolic intermediates or indirectly as a signal to extend life span.
So will drinking extend our own lives, then?
The research raises, but does not answer, the question of whether tiny amounts of ethanol can be helpful for human health. Whether this mechanism has something in common with findings that moderate alcohol consumption in humans may have a cardiovascular health benefit is unknown, but Clarke said the possibilities are intriguing.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.