New research suggests that alcohol directly accelerates the aging process. In the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, scientists from Oxford Population Health examined the link between alcohol consumption and telomere length in almost 250,000 adults. Telomeres are DNA sequences that cap the end of chromosomes, protecting them from damage. Telomere length is considered a potential biological marker of aging. Shorter telomeres have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, coronary artery disease, and other age-related disorders. The researchers found a significant association between high alcohol intake and shorter telomere length. Adults who drank more than ten alcoholic drinks per week, such as ten large glasses of wine, had between one and two years of age-related change in their telomere length compared to those who drank less than two alcoholic drinks per week. Individuals diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder had even shorter telomere lengths, equal to between 3 and 6 years of aging.