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Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)

Alanine aminotransferase or ALT is an enzyme located primarily in the liver and kidneys. The level of ALT in the blood is usually low, however, a rise in ALT serum levels is indicative of liver damage. A high level of ALT can usually be detected before obvious signs of liver injury occur, such as jaundice.

Why Take An ALT Blood Test?

An ALT blood test is used to screen for liver disease or injury. It measures the amount of ALT in the blood. Increased serum levels of ALT may also confirm muscle damage if there is an absence of symptoms that may indicate liver damage.[2] ALT is usually measured alongside Alkaline Phosphates, Bilirubin, Albumin, Gamma GT, Globulin and Total Protein to ascertain how well your liver is functioning. [3]

ALT levels increase when the liver is damaged potentially because of alcohol abuse, medication use, cirrhosis, muscle injury, kidney damage, liver infection as well as trauma. Therefore, if you are concerned about the health of your liver you may choose Liver Function Test that includes ALT.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) Tests

All these tests include Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT). Select the test that suits your personal needs.

Liver Health
£39
7 Biomarkers Included
Our liver test kit checks how your liver is performing.
Subscription
Baseline Plus
£79
Per test
20 Biomarkers Included
Our best selling general health blood test measuring 20 essential biomarkers for good health and wellbeing.
Subscription
Baseline
£65
Per test
16 Biomarkers Included
Put your wellbeing to the test with our baseline health check.
Vitality
£139
48 Biomarkers Included
Our best value wellbeing check measuring over 45 biomarkers.
Ultimate
£324
52 Biomarkers Included
Our biggest full blood count health check analysing over 50 biomarkers.

What Can Cause ALT To Change?

Fatty liver disease is one cause of increased ALT levels where the accumulation of excess fat in the liver causes it to become damaged. A fatty liver is associated with obesity and so it is important to implement and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Essentially making the right lifestyle choices will help to keep your ALT levels within a healthy range.

Diet is a major factor in the health of the liver. The functions of the liver include the detoxification of chemicals, metabolism of drugs and to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract. Fructose, a type of sugar has been shown to be consumed in larger quantities by people who have fatty liver disease. Therefore, it is advisable to monitor your sugar intake, particularly fructose. Research has shown a diet high in vegetables and low in animal-based protein can improve ALT activity and help keep levels within a normal range.[8]

Alcohol also impacts on the health of the liver and as a result, can increase ALT levels if it causes damage to the organ. If body mass index increases (BMI) increases then the activity of liver enzymes including ALT also rises.[9] To maintain a healthy liver, alcohol consumption should be limited and kept within guidelines of no more than 14 units per week.[10]

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for many diseases which, in turn, can also lead to an increase in serum ALT levels. Participation in physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes by 35% and cardiovascular disease by 49%. Plus, losing just 5% body weight and exercising regularly is associated with a significant improvement in fatty liver disease.[11]

How To Improve ALT Levels?

Diet is one way to improve your ALT levels. Cutting back on foods high in saturated fat and sugar and including things such as whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils, fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and lean meats will support your liver health and reduce your ALT levels.

Cutting back on alcohol will also improve your ALT levels. You should not drink any more than 14 units of alcohol a day and aim to have a few days during the week where you don’t drink at all.

Learn more about foods to support your liver health>>

Other related blogs on this site:

Top Things To Avoid For A Healthy Liver

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Liver?

Impact Of Alcohol On The Body

How Does Sugar Affect Our Health?

What Are The Symptoms of Liver Damage?

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Liver pain
  • Poor sleep
  • Generally feeling unwell

 

 

What Are The Symptoms of Liver Disease?

  • Jaundice
  • Itchy skin
  • Mood changes
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic fatigue

You can learn more about liver disease by visiting the British Liver Trust.

What Are Normal ALT Levels?

For men, normal ALT levels are less than 50 U/L, for women, it’s less than 35 U/L.

Forth’s customer average ALT level is 37.43 for men and 24.9 for women.

References

[2] Nathwani, R, A et al. (2005). Serum Alanine Aminotransferase in Skeletal Muscle Diseases. Hepatology: 41(2), pp 380-382.

[3] McGill, M, R. (2016). The Past and Present of Serum Aminotransferases and the Future of Liver Injury Biomarkers. EXCLI. J: 15, pp 817-828.

[4] Marshall, W. (2012). Alanine Aminotransferase (Serum, Plasma). Association for Clinical Biochemistry. Available at: http://www.acb.org.uk/Nat%20Lab%20Med%20Hbk/ALT.pdf

[5] Ray Kim, W et al. (2008). Serum Activity of Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) as an Indicator of Health and Disease. Hepatology: 47(4).

[6] Danielsson, J et al. (2014). Impacts of Common Factors of Life Style on Serum Liver Enzymes. World Journal of Gastroenterology: 20(33), pp 11743-11752.

[7] National Health Service. (2017).  Liver Disease. Available at:https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/liver-disease/

[8] Iwamoto, M., Yagi, K and Sato, M. (2013). Eating a Healthy Lunch Improves Serum Alanine Aminotransferase Activity. Lipids Health Dis: 12.

[9] Alatalo, P, I., Kivisto, H, M., Hietala, J, P., Puukka, K, S., Bloigu, R and Niemelä, O, J. (2008). Effect of Moderate Alcohol Consumption on Liver Enzymes Increases with Increasing Body Mass Index. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 88(4), pp 1097-1103.

[10] National Health Service. (2018).  Alcohol Units. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/alcohol-units.aspx

[11] Webb, D. (2018). Diet and Nutrition for Liver Health. Today’s Dietitian: 20(6), p 36.

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