Smokeless Tobacco May Hurt DNA, Enzymes

CHANDIGARH, India, June 18 (UPI) — A researcher in India warns smokeless tobacco use may damage the body’s DNA and key enzymes.

Krishan Khanduja of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, suggests smokeless tobacco not only may damage DNA, but may also affect the normal functioning of a key family of enzymes found in almost every organ.

Khanduja and colleagues found laboratory rats exposed to extracts of smokeless tobacco had altered DNA material in the liver, kidney and lungs — as well as changed function of the CYP-450 family of enzymes. This enzyme group affects many functions including the production of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, the processing of cholesterol and vitamin D and the breaking down of prescription drugs and possibly toxic substances.

The study, published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, noted use of smokeless products is increasing not only among men but also among children, teenagers and women.

“These products are used around the world but are most common in Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean region,” the study authors said in a statement. “Most of the users seem to be unaware of the harmful health effects and, therefore, use smokeless tobacco to ‘treat’ toothaches, headaches, and stomachaches.”

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Categorized | Education, Other, Toxic Substances
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