What Are the Causes of Elevated Liver Enzymes?

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Liver enzymes are proteins that assist in accelerating chemical reactions in the liver, according to the Health Scout Network. High levels of liver enzymes can be related to numerous medical conditions. If you have elevated liver enzymes, you will need to undergo further testing.

About Enzymes

Elevated liver enzymes are also known as elevated transaminases, according to ElevatedEnzymes.net. Enzymes in the liver that most often become elevated are alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase. With most instances of liver disease, alanine transaminase levels will be higher than those of aspartate transaminase.

Liver Damage

Alanine transaminase is an enzyme made in liver cells. High levels of this enzyme are related to damage to the liver, reports LiverDoctor.com. Levels are raised when there is injury to membranes of the liver cells. Liver inflammation is also created by high levels of alanine transaminase.

Alkaline phosphatase

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme created in the bile ducts and membranes of the liver and is also found in other tissues. Alkaline phosphatase is often elevated in many types of liver diseases, but also in unrelated liver conditions. Raised levels are related to cirrhosis and liver cancer. A rise in alkaline phosphatase can also be related to gallstones, alcohol abuse and hepatitis.

Gamma Gutamyl Transpeptidase

Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase is another liver enzyme. Levels of this enzyme are elevated in people who abuse alcohol or other toxic substances, reports LiverDoctor.com. Raised levels of gamma glutamyl transpeptidase can also be related to bile duct disease. Increased levels of this enzyme can be associated with a fatty liver and can also be seen in cases where people digest large quantities of artificial sweetneners.


If you think there may be problems with your liver, do not hesitate to have your physician run tests. Tests to examine the liver include ultrasounds and CAT scans. In addition, blood tests can examine for high levels of bile acids, which may indicate various types of cancer or gallbladder disease. A biopsy can be performed to test for hepatitis or diseases connected with alcohol abuse.