08th January 2024
What Causes High Liver Enzymes? Understanding the 5 Potential CausesDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body, responsible for filtering toxins, producing bile, and regulating metabolism.
When liver enzymes increase, it can be a sign of a problem or disease. However, the range of what causes high liver enzymes can be complex.
So why do liver enzymes increase and how can you prevent it? Keep reading to learn more about your liver health and what causes high liver enzymes.
What Are Liver Enzymes?
Liver enzymes are proteins produced by your liver.
These proteins play a crucial role in various metabolic processes in your body including breaking down and processing substances like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, as well as detoxifying harmful compounds.
When your liver is healthy, these enzymes remain at normal levels in your blood. However, when there's an issue with your liver, such as inflammation or damage, these enzymes can leak into your bloodstream, causing their levels to rise.
ALT Vs AST Enzymes
The two common liver enzymes that doctors use to measure liver health are ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase).
Elevated levels of these enzymes in your blood are typically signs of liver problems. Paying attention to your liver enzyme levels can provide valuable information about your liver health and help diagnose conditions like fatty liver disease, hepatitis, or cirrhosis.
If you’ve received abnormal liver enzyme results, talk to your doctor immediately. Your doctor will provide further evaluation and guidance on managing your liver health through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medical treatment.
Remember, regular check-ups and healthy habits can go a long way in maintaining a healthy liver and overall well-being.
What Causes High Liver Enzymes?
So, what causes high liver enzymes to begin with? Well, there are many things that may cause elevated liver enzymes.
Below are 5 of the most common causes of elevated liver enzyme levels.
1. Alcohol Consumption
One of the common causes of high liver enzymes is excessive alcohol consumption.
When you consume alcohol, your liver metabolizes it and breaks it down. However, heavy drinking can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver, leading to high levels of liver enzymes in the blood.
Keeping your drinking to a minimum and only drinking within your recommended serving suggestion will help prevent liver damage caused by alcohol.
2. Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is another cause of high liver enzyme levels. Fatty liver disease occurs when there is an accumulation of fat in the liver.
It can be caused by obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes. Over time, fatty liver disease can lead to liver scarring, which can permanently damage your liver.
Prevention and treatment of fatty liver disease include lifestyle changes such as weight loss, physical activity, and dietary changes.
Hepatitis is a general term for describing inflammation of the liver.
There are different strains of hepatitis, each of which can cause high liver enzyme levels. Hepatitis A, B, and C can occur through contaminated food, shared needles, and sexual contact. Hepatitis B and C can become chronic and can cause cirrhosis or liver cancer if left untreated.
Prevention and treatment include vaccination, practicing safe sex, and avoiding risky behavior.
Certain medications can cause high liver enzyme levels. For instance, cholesterol-lowering medications and antibiotics have been linked to liver toxicity.
This risk is higher if these medications are taken in excess or for long periods of time.
This is why it’s important to understand the side effects of medications and to only take them under medical supervision and advice.
5. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are characterized by the immune system attacking healthy cells in the body.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, the liver can become inflamed, leading to high liver enzyme levels. Treatment typically involves medications that suppress the immune system.
What Can You Do to Prevent Elevated Liver Enzymes?
The best way to prevent elevated liver enzymes is to avoid what causes high liver enzymes. Maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, avoid alcohol, and partake in regular exercise.
You may also want to consider liver detox supplements like The Everyday Liver Vitamin.* The Everyday Liver Vitamin is an all-natural dietary supplement packed full of ingredients like artichoke, milk thistle, and essential vitamins and minerals.*
These ingredients have been clinically studied for their effectiveness in supporting and repairing liver health.* Including liver health supplements in your diet may help support your liver and possibly prevent high liver enzymes.*
High liver enzymes typically signal trouble with your liver, one of the most important organs in your body. Knowing what causes high liver enzymes can help you prevent possible liver damage and lead a longer, healthier life.
With a healthy lifestyle and possibly the help of liver detox supplements, you may be able to protect your liver and prevent serious health consequences.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.