Do you feel ill after drinking a glass of wine or two these days? Here’s why.
Can’t hold your liquor as well anymore? It may not be just because of age. A study by the University of Pennsylvania that was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution has found that evolution could be making our hangovers worse.
According to the study, a certain genetic adaptation could be making it harder for our bodies to process alcohol. But only certain populations have experienced this adaption so far, and the researchers don’t how when it’ll occur in the rest of the populations.
The populations with the highest number of people with this genetic adaptation? They’re those of West African and East Asian ancestries.
Senior investigator of the study Benjamin Voight explained to Live Science that while those without the adaptation are usually able to process alcohol and flush it out of their body without much discomfort, those who have “evolved” aren’t able to have it eliminated as quickly, which is what results in the terrible hangovers.
Benjamin added that it’s unclear whether this adaption is happening to protect people against excessive drinking. However, their findings have shown that the pressures our ancestors experienced in the distant past have influenced the “make-up of our genome in many ways”.
He also shared that they investigated the gene adaptation by analysing data from the 1,000 Genome Project, which collected genetic material from 2,500 people living across four continents.
But there’s an upside to this new discovery: us humans are still evolving and we’re not a lost cause. Whoopee.
A version of this story first appeared in CLEO. Offering an insider perspective on everything a twenty-something woman in Singapore wants or needs to know, CLEO Magazine is now available in both print and digital formats. Visit www.CLEO.com.sg to subscribe.