Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that is present in every single tissue of the body, though it is concentrated in the liver, gallbladder, bones, kidneys, placenta and intestines. This enzyme plays a number of roles within the body, including but not limited to, aiding proper bone formation, protecting the intestinal tract from bacteria, aiding the digestion and breakdown of fats as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B6. Often high alkaline phosphatase is used as a test for bone, liver and kidney diseases, but there are also foods that can increase alkaline phosphatase levels.
Phosphorous is the most important nutritional ingredient for creating alkaline phosphate in the body, and the amount of phosphorous needed by our body each day is second only to calcium. In addition to helping create alkaline phosphatase, phosphorous is important for energy production, healthy bone formation, DNA production and calcium absorption. The majority of phosphorous in the diet comes from soft drinks, though it is far better to gain it from healthy food sources such as yoghurt, lentils, salmon, halibut, chicken, turkey, almonds and eggs.
Alkaline phosphatase plays a role in the digestion and absorption of fats in the intestinal tract, and some types of oils have been found to directly stimulate alkaline phosphate production. In particular, one study published in the journal "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" in 2007 found that animals fed cod liver oil, coconut oil and corn oil had higher alkaline phosphate levels than normal.
Adequate dietary zinc is important for the production of alkaline phosphatase in the body and deficiencies of zinc will result in low alkaline phosphatase in the blood. Supplementing with zinc will increase alkaline phosphatase to healthy levels quickly. Zinc also plays a role in healthy bone formation, supporting the immune system and supporting healthy skin. This mineral can be found in foods such as oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, pecans, peas and Brazil nuts. Supplemental zinc should never exceed 30 mg per day.
Deficiencies in vitamin B12 lead to pernicious anaemia, a condition which is linked to low alkaline phosphate levels as well as bone diseases, such as osteoporosis. A study in Korea by the Asian Medical Center found that pernicious anaemia resulted in decreased levels of bone formation and decreased production of alkaline phosphatase from bone cells. Vitamin B12 can be found in most meats, fish, eggs, dairy products and sea vegetables. Vegetarians and vegans are recommended to supplement with 2mcg of vitamin B12 daily, best taken as a sublingual tablet absorbed under the tongue.
Vitamin A helps to stimulate production of alkaline phosphatase from bone cells, and may help to regulate production of alkaline phosphatase in the intestinal tract. Increasing vitamin A should be done with caution, as this nutrient is stored within our fat cells throughout the year. The highest food sources of vitamin A include liver (ox, chicken, calf), chilli peppers, dandelion root, carrots, apricots, kale, sweet potatoes and spinach. Vitamin A is also found within fish oils such as salmon oil and cod liver oil.
- "The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods;" Pizzorno, Joseph; 2005
- PubMed.gov: Effects of vitamin B12 on cell proliferation and cellular alkaline phosphatase activity in human bone marrow stromal osteoprogenitor cells and UMR106 osteoblastic cell
- PubMed.gov: Intestinal alkaline phosphatase secretion in oil-fed rats
- PubMed Central: Zinc deficiency negatively affects alkaline phosphatase and the concentration of Ca, Mg and P in rat