One Study Claims That Genetics Affects How Much You Drink

alcoholismIf you become intoxicated after one drink, blame your ancestors. Researchers at Washington State University have found that your genetic makeup affects your sensitivity to alcohol.

A receptor in our brain reportedly affects our reaction to alcohol. The protein receptor, located on cells in the cerebellum, is known as GABAA. When it’s activated, it suppresses the firing of brain cells. That leads to balance issues, stumbling, slurred speech and reduced social inhibitions. Depending upon your genetic makeup, that could happen even after one drink. For others, the receptor takes a long time to be stimulated, leading to binge drinking and alcoholism.

An abstract of the study’s results may be found at with the study’s long and very detailed report, entitled “Alcohol Suppresses Tonic GABAA Receptor Currents in Cerebellar Granule Cells in the Prairie Vole: A Neural Signature of High-Alcohol-Consuming Genotypes,” is available at

Pass me a beer, will you?


In my family’s case, it just confirms my own findings.
My father was a publican and could out-drink anyone. 2 bottle of whisky in a day was a mere tipple! My dentist once asked me about 30 years ago whether I could drink a lot – apparently I had been given enough anaesthetic during treatment to lay out a horse for 12 hours, but kept coming round after just a few seconds. On telling him I could drink about half a bottle of gin in a sitting and be stone cold sober half an hour later, he said there must be something in my genetic make-up that gets rid of the effects of liquor/drugs very quickly. (I don’t hesitate to say that my gin-drinking exploits were not very frequent, in case anyone thinks I am a raving alcoholic!!))
On meeting a very old gent back in the 1960s who knew my great grandfather, he told me that William was a great drinker. He would drink a gallon of ale with his breakfast, another gallon with his lunch, and another with his evening meal….then, to finish off he would go down to the pub for a drink!
Just in case someone thinks they had shortened lives because of the drinking my father was 76 when he died, my great grandfather was 85. I’m still going strong at 73 although I only have the occasional glass of wine these days.
My brother, one of his daughters and my daughter also seems to have inherited the family “drinkers gene” as I affectionately call it.


I was surprised to hear that it is new news re: genetics are linked with the propensity to consume alcohol.


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