Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is mostly found in the liver. Significant amounts of ALT can be found in the kidneys, muscles and the heart while smaller amounts are found in the pancreas, lungs and spleen.
ALT is used as a clinical biomarker for liver or hepatic health and plays an important role in the alanine cycle.
During exercise, the skeletal muscles – those attached to bone – break down and nitrogen and carbon are released as a result. As part of the alanine cycle, ALT transports the nitrogen and carbon released from skeletal muscles to the liver in the form of alanine. ALT catalyses the transfer of an amino group from alanine to alpha-ketoglutarate to form pyruvate in the liver, which is used to generate glucose for energy. Therefore, ALT has key roles in gluconeogenesis as well as the formation of urea. Gluconeogenesis is a pathway which occurs in the liver and kidneys to make sugar (glucose) from non-carbohydrate substances and is used for energy. The process usually occurs when dietary intake of glucose is low or not happening at all.
As ALT is so abundant in the liver, it is a good indicator of hepatic or liver injury. For example, if the liver cells are damaged or injured, ALT leaks out into the bloodstream. This damage can be a result of infections such as hepatitis or drug/alcohol excesses or overdose. However, leakage of ALT into the bloodstream is not necessarily exclusive to the liver and can occur because of injury to skeletal or cardiac muscle. Certain drugs can also increase the expression of ALT. 
Individuals with increased levels of aminotransferases such as ALT are at a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus as well as cardiovascular disease.
Individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle can be at a greater risk of depression, anxiety as well as weight gain and low energy. People who have high ALT levels may be at risk of being overweight, obese or developing an illness which in turn can have a negative effect on their mood.
Liver injury or disease such as hepatitis can also affect your general wellbeing. Hepatitis can present itself as flu-like symptoms and generally make you feel unwell.
Increased ALT can be an indicator of fatty liver disease which can develop in concurrence with obesity. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy lifestyle choices to keep your ALT levels within normal parameters.
Lower levels of ALT can be an indicator of frailty in middle aged-elderly populations. Less is known about the clinical implications of decreased ALT levels.
Food can have a major effect on our blood ALT levels. A diet high in dietary fibre such as fruit and vegetables can help to improve ALT activity. 
Alcohol may also impact blood ALT levels. The effect of alcohol consumption on liver enzyme activity including ALT increases as your body mass index (BMI) increases.  Therefore, it is recommended that you keep alcohol consumption within the guidelines – no more than 14 units per week. 
Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of liver injury as well as other illnesses and disorders.
Increased participation in physical activity, as well as weight loss, has been shown to improve serum ALT levels.  You should aim for around 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week such as swimming, walking or cycling. However, you should consult your GP before beginning any new training or exercise regime.
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