The liver is one of the vital organs that play an important role in maintaining the body’s overall health. One of its main functions is to filter and detoxify harmful substances from the body.
However, when the liver becomes overloaded or damaged, it can lead to an increase in liver enzymes, which can indicate liver problems and mess up a healthy liver function.
Enzymes are biocatalysts made up of proteins that speed up the various biological and chemical reactions in our body without essentially being consumed during the reaction. But then,
1) Why Is There a Need to Lower Liver Enzymes in Our Bodies?
When the liver is damaged or diseased due to external or internal factors, it can leak certain liver enzymes like alanine transaminase (ALT) into the bloodstream, leading to elevated levels of these enzymes than normal ones in the blood.
To identify the damage in the liver we use blood tests, as elevated (ALT) alanine transaminase levels indicate that the liver cells have been damaged.
Liver enzymes are proteins that are produced by liver cells and are involved in various liver functions, such as digestion and detoxification.
The following are the causes of liver damage leading to various liver diseases:
1.1 Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol over a prolonged period can cause liver inflammation and scarring the liver, which can lead to liver diseases like Hepatitis sometimes chronic hepatitis.
1.2 Viral Hepatitis
Viral infections, such as hepatitis B and C, can cause inflammation and damage to the liver.
1.3 Fatty Liver Disease
This occurs when fat accumulates in the liver, which can be caused by obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
1.4 Autoimmune Disorders
Some autoimmune disorders, such as autoimmune hepatitis and primary biliary cholangitis, can cause inflammation and damage to the liver.
Some medications, such as acetaminophen and certain antibiotics, can cause liver damage if taken in excessive amounts or for a prolonged period.
2) When Should You See a Doctor for Checking the Risk of Liver Damage?
Elevated alt levels might not always show clear and noticeable symptoms concerning liver disease or liver injury.
But people having high liver enzymes may suffer from the following symptoms:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Dark urine and pale stools
It is essential to note that not all liver diseases or conditions involving the liver cause inflammation. For example, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can cause elevated liver enzymes without significant inflammation symptoms.
NAFLD is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver such that it can lead to liver damage over time.
It’s also important to note that high liver enzymes may not always be caused by liver disease. Some medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, can also cause high liver enzymes.
Therefore, it’s important to see a healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms of high liver enzymes, as well as if you are taking medications that can affect liver function, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.
Over time, if Alanine transaminase (ALT), and Aspartate transaminase (AST) are untreated, liver damage can lead to the development of liver cancer.
Liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, typically develops over several years in people who have chronic liver disease or damage.
The most common causes of chronic liver disease include hepatitis B or C, alcohol abuse, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and certain inherited conditions.
If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms frequently, immediately speak with your doctor, healthcare provider, or a liver specialist and get medically reviewed.
3) What Will the Doctor Do?
Doctors often check the presence of liver enzyme-increased Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels by measuring it through a type of blood test called a liver function test (LFT).
Liver function test checks levels of the most common liver enzymes ALT, AST (aspartate transaminase), and also other enzymes like GGT (Gamma glutamyl transferase), ALP that is Alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, albumin protein, and changes in total proteins.
Also, folate deficiency can lead to other health problems that may indirectly affect liver function.
For males, the normal alt level ranges from 29 to 33 units per liter (IU/L) of blood. For females, the range is 19 to 25 units per liter (IU/L) of blood.
The doctor will also tell you if there is a need for liver surgery based on your results.
4) How to Lower Liver Enzymes?
4.1 Can You Lower Alt Levels Naturally?
ALT is an important enzyme because it is mostly found in liver cells, and if there is any damage to the liver cells, the liver enzyme levels of ALT in the blood can become elevated acting as a biological indicator that it is been leading to various liver diseases.
Lowering liver enzymes involves identifying and treating the above-mentioned causes of elevated enzyme levels. This may involve lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy diet, and losing weight which will lower alt levels naturally.
Other factors include medical treatment, such as antiviral medications for hepatitis or medications to manage autoimmune disorders or to avoid certain medications that lead to elevated enzyme levels.
5) 10 Effective Ways On How To Lower Liver Enzymes:
5.1) Eat A Healthy And Low-Sugar Diet
A balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help improve liver health and lower liver enzymes. Avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt like fried foods as they can cause inflammation and damage to the liver tissue.
5.2) Avoid Alcohol Consumption
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause damage to liver cells, leading to an increase in liver enzymes. To lower liver enzymes, it is important to avoid or limit alcohol consumption.
5.3) Avoid Raw Food
Raw or undercooked shellfish like clams or oysters lead to chronic liver diseases. Consume fish like salmon or trout at least twice a week as they are foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Also, go for fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products as it also improves liver health.
5.4)Always Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is essential for liver health. Water helps to flush out toxins and waste products from the body, reducing the workload on the liver.
5.5) Exercising Regularly
Regular exercise can help to improve liver health and lower liver enzymes. Exercise can help to reduce inflammation in the liver and also promote the flow of blood and oxygen to the liver, improving its ability to function properly.
5.6) Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of liver damage and elevate liver enzymes. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help to lower liver enzymes and improve overall liver health.
Also, avoid processed foods.
5.7) Drink Coffee
Consuming up to 4 cups of coffee per day can help lower your ALT levels according to a 2017 review.
A large 2014 study found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee lowered levels of abnormal liver enzymes and out of approximately 27800 people, adults who drank at least three cups of coffee a day had lower ALT levels than those who didn’t drink coffee.
5.8)Avoid Certain Medications
Some prescription medications like acetaminophen also called paracetamol can cause liver damage and elevate liver enzymes.
If you are taking any medication, it is important to consult your doctor to ensure that it is safe for your liver and to discuss any potential risks.
5.9)Consider Herbal Supplements
Some herbal supplements, such as milk thistle and dandelion root, have been shown to have a beneficial effect on liver health and may help to lower liver enzymes.
However, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements, as they may interact with other medications or have side effects.
5.10)Take Folic Acid Supplements
Folic acid is a B vitamin that is important for the proper function and growth of cells in the body, including liver cells Since, folate deficiency can lead to other health problems that may indirectly affect liver function. Some research suggests that taking folic acid supplements may help protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol consumption, certain medications, and other factors. Folic acid deficiency can contribute to liver dysfunction and may lead to elevated liver enzymes.
6) A Case Study on Folic Deficiency
A study conducted in a Chinese hypertensive population found that folate deficiency was associated with increased levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), both of which are enzymes produced by the liver.
The study, which was published in the journal PLoS One in 2013, looked at data from over 10,000 participants who had undergone a health examination.
The researchers measured the participants’ blood levels of folate, ALT, and GGT, and analyzed the data to determine if there was any correlation between folate deficiency and elevated liver enzymes.
The results showed that participants who were folate-deficient had higher levels of both ALT and GGT than those who had adequate folate levels. This finding suggests that folate deficiency may contribute to liver dysfunction, as evidenced by elevated liver enzymes.
Studies have linked folate deficiency to increased ALT levels and liver damage and found that folic acid appears to decrease ALT levels in people with liver damage.
7) What You Should Also Know:
There are patients like asymptomatic patients who do not display any symptoms of a disease or medical condition, even though they may be infected or affected.
For example, in the case of liver disease, some patients may have elevated liver enzymes on routine blood tests, but do not have any signs or symptoms of liver disease such as abdominal pain, fatigue, or jaundice.
Treatment for asymptomatic patients with elevated liver enzymes depends on the underlying cause. The goal of treatment is to address the underlying condition that is causing the elevated liver enzymes to prevent further liver damage and reduce the risk of complications.
8) In Conclusion
The liver is one of the vital organs that play an important role in the body’s metabolic processes.
Elevated levels of liver enzymes, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), can be a sign of liver damage or disease.
There are several lifestyle changes and interventions that can be used to lower liver enzymes and improve liver health.
One of the most effective ways to lower liver enzymes is to make dietary changes. Reducing the intake of alcohol, unhealthy fats, and sugar can help to improve liver function and lower enzyme levels.
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can also provide the body with the necessary nutrients to promote liver health.
Regular exercise can also be beneficial in lowering liver enzymes. Exercise helps to reduce body weight, lower blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity, all of which can contribute to better liver function.
However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.
Certain supplements, such as milk thistle, may also be beneficial in improving liver function and lowering enzyme levels. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as some may interact with other medications or medical conditions.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that is important for the proper function and growth of cells in the body, including liver cells
For individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, treatment may be necessary to lower liver enzyme levels and prevent further damage to the liver. This may include medication, surgery, or other interventions depending on the specific condition.
In addition, regular monitoring of liver enzyme levels is important to detect any changes in liver function and prevent further damage. This is especially important for individuals who have a history of liver disease or other risk factors for liver damage.
In conclusion, making lifestyle changes and interventions to lower liver enzymes can help to improve liver function and prevent further damage. Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and taking supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider are all important steps in promoting liver health.
Regular monitoring and treatment of liver disease or damage can also help to prevent the development of more serious conditions, such as liver cancer.
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