What would cause high liver function test results?

Updated April 17, 2017

Elevated levels of enzymes show up in a person's blood when they escape from the liver. There are a variety of reasons for this phenomenon.


Enzyme levels are typically elevated when liver cells are damaged. According to Dr. Sandra Cabot, a liver doctor, the causes of this damage range in severity depending on the particular enzyme that is elevated.


High liver level test results are not a reflection on the organ's function. They simply determine that liver damage has occurred or that other problems exist, according to the AIDS Treatment Data Network.

Liver Problems

Causes of liver damage, especially when gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase is elevated, include obesity, heavy drinking, a fatty liver or certain medications.

Other Problems

When alkaline phosphatase is found to be elevated in a liver function test it could indicate, in addition to liver damage, problems with bones, intestines or kidneys.


One of the most significant causes of high liver function test results is the presence of bilirubin. This is a yellow fluid produced in the liver that can leak when red blood cells are broken and can eventually cause jaundice.

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About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.