How to reduce elevated liver enzymes

Updated February 21, 2017

Liver enzymes normally remain within the cells of the liver. When there is trouble with the liver, these enzymes spill over into the bloodstream and are detected with a liver enzyme lab test. There are many things that can stress the liver and raise the enzyme levels. Medications such as antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, pain relievers, infections, obesity, alcohol and diabetes are a few of the most common causes of elevated liver enzymes. Fortunately, changing our association with these stressors can also reduce the elevated liver enzymes. Following the steps below will lower enzyme levels and help strengthen the liver.

Discontinue over-the-counter medications. Medications, even over-the-counter, raise liver enzyme levels and interfere with liver function. Speak to your physician about discontinuing prescription drugs until liver enzyme levels are under control, especially cholesterol-lowering drugs, which have a greater negative impact on the liver.

Lose some weight. A fatty liver will elevate liver enzymes. According to Dennis Lee, M.D., losing 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight will lower your liver enzyme level as well as improve your overall health. Reduce consumption of fatty foods and increase portions of fresh fruits and vegetables, which have high levels of antioxidant vitamins that help the liver fight toxins.

Exercise daily. Adding a simple, brisk walk to your daily routine will not only help with Step 2, it improves blood circulation. The liver needs a continual fresh supply of blood to bring it nutrients that are needed for it to function well.

Avoid, or strictly limit, alcohol consumption. More than one drink of alcohol per day can cause a significant rise in liver enzymes.

Add milk thistle to your daily routine. Milk thistle is an herb that protects liver cells and promotes their healthy regeneration. When purchasing milk thistle, get it from an established and respected health store or pharmacy.

Drink more water. Water helps flush toxins out of the body, and toxins can bog down the liver and impair its function.


Always consult your physician before adding any supplements to your daily routine.


Never discontinue medication without permission from your physician.

Things You'll Need

  • Exercise
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Milk thistle supplement
  • Water
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."