8 causes of high ALT levels

ALT Test
Here are 8 possible causes of high ALT levels in the body, which include liver disease, alcoholism, obesity, muscle damage, heart failure, and more.

The doctor will interpret your alanine transaminase (ALT) result, considering your clinical history, symptoms, and other lab tests.

Some of the common causes of high ALT levels in the blood include:

  1. Liver disease: ALT levels increase because of liver diseases such as
  2. Alcoholism: Liquor breakdown negatively affects liver health by causing free radical damage and increased levels of inflammatory markers (TNF-α). In the long run, excessive liquor consumption prompts liver cell death, which allows ALT out of the liver into the bloodstream.
  3. Liver damage due to drugs, supplements, and toxins: Many medications can increase ALT by causing liver damage. Over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed medications are among the most widely recognized reasons for high ALT levels.
  4. Obesity: ALT is regularly high in individuals who are obese. Visceral fat is more harmful than general obesity and frequently occurs with conditions such as diabetes and liver infection.
  5. Muscle damage: Because a modest amount of ALT is stored in the muscle cells, muscle injury and diseases can likewise make ALT leak into the blood and increase its levels.
  6. Drugs: Anti-cholesterol drugs (statins), overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and nimesulide, antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins, and vitamin A overdose among others.
  7. Heart failure: ALT and aspartate transaminase may be often elevated in cases of heart failure due to engorgement in liver blood vessels.
  8. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: This is an enzyme required for cellular functions of the lungs and liver. Genetically inherited alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency may cause liver and lung damage.

What is ALT?

Alanine transaminase (ALT), originally named serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase, is an enzyme fundamentally found in the liver and kidney, which our bodies utilize to break down food into energy.

Normally, ALT levels in the blood are low; however, when the liver cells are damaged, they discharge excess ALT into the blood.

  • An ALT test helps estimate the measure of ALT in the blood.
  • ALT is typically estimated simultaneously with aspartate transaminase as a feature of a liver function panel to decide the source of organ damage.

What are the symptoms of elevated ALT level?

If suspected liver damage is the cause of increased alanine transaminase levels, you might have symptoms such as:

4 Ways to lower ALT levels

If your alanine transaminase (ALT) levels are high, it is important to identify the cause and treat any underlying conditions.

Improved lifestyle or dietary modifications can help prevent and treat high ALT levels, such as:

  1. Drinking coffee: Drinking coffee can help lower ALT levels, which may be due to the caffeine content that has liver-protecting properties or antioxidant properties.
  2. Regular exercise: Performing exercise every day might assist with improving liver health. Research suggests that being physically active is a significant factor in treating liver diseases.
  3. Losing excess weight: Weight reduction is a significant factor to treat fatty liver disease and prevent fibrosis of the liver. Weight reduction further develops insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation. Normal exercise, alongside a decrease in calories, may likewise lessen the danger of liver cancer.
  4. Increasing folic acid consumption: A folate deficiency may cause damage to the liver and possibly have a connection to liver cancer. Thus, people can work on their liver health by eating food sources high in folate, such as:
    • Beef liver
    • Spinach
    • Black-eyed peas
    • Fortified breakfast cereals
    • Asparagus

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Medically Reviewed on 1/4/2022
References
https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/alt-blood-test/

https://pmj.bmj.com/content/79/932/307