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.

More stories from CLEO
Should You Drink Day-Old Water From Your Own Water Bottle?
A Study Says That The Oldest Child Is Way Better At This One Thing
This Ingredient In McDonald’s Fries May Cure A Common Hair Problem

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.

The good news, though, is that  people with the adaptation are at lower risk for alcohol dependence.

Voight 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.

And much as this may be unfortunate for all you alkies out there, there’s an upside to this new discovery: us humans are still evolving and we’re not a lost cause. Whoopee.

Image: Dmitry Moiseenko/