Liver enzymes and their importance
The fact is that the liver is a very important organ in the human body and it consists of numerous enzymes, more than one thousand, which are all necessary for particular metabolic processes and chemical reactions in the body. However, when laboratory tests are done, the levels of four liver enzymes are checked in order to see if any liver disease is present. These enzymes are known together as transaminases and cholestatic liver enzymes. To be more precise, transaminases are aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), while cholestatic liver enzymes are alkaline phosphatase (AP) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT).
The elevated levels of enzymes known as transaminases are usually related to some injury or inflammation of liver cells, although they may be related to the diseases or problems of some other organs as well, since AST is also present in other organs. As for cholestatic liver enzymes, their increased levels are related to the bile ducts, so they usually indicate either inflammation and injury, or some kind of blockage to the bile ducts.
Elevated liver enzymes and the main causes
It is important to say that elevated liver enzymes do not always indicate some inflammation or injury of the liver. Also, it is rarely possible to determine the reason after the first blood test has been done, which is why further analyses are usually necessary to set a correct diagnosis. As for the most common causes of elevated liver enzymes, they also include the following:
- The consumptions of alcohol and disorders that may be caused by it (such as alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis)
- High levels of triglycerides,
- Medications among which are those that lower cholesterol levels, antibiotics, and NSAIDs,
- Hepatitis type A, B and C and a number of other types of hepatitis,
- Inflammation of the gallbladder,
- Heart attack,
- Liver cancer,
- Wilson’s disease,
- Epstein bar virus
- Herbal toxicity.
It depends on the cause which symptoms will be present, although in many cases, no obvious and noticeable symptoms are present at all. As for the treatment, it also depends on the cause, but it is important to say that there are many natural ways in which elevated liver enzymes may be lowered. There are various diets that have the purpose to cleanse or detoxify the liver, and they should be given a chance. However, it is important to consult a doctor in advance, in order to check out how safe it is in each particular case.