Liver 557


What is ALAT?



ALAT, also known as alanine aminotransferase or ALT, is an enzyme that is primarily found in the liver. It is involved in the metabolism of amino acids - the building blocks of proteins. If ALAT is affected, alanine, an amino acid essential for energy metabolism and production of glucose in the liver, may build up in the body.

This, in turn, can lead up to type 2 diabetes and reduced energy production hence impaired exercise performance.

Normal levels of ALAT suggest that your liver functions are intact and that your overall liver health is good. This is an important sign of bodily function, since the liver is responsible for the production of many important proteins and compounds in our body, as well as one of the two most important organs (together with the kidneys) to metabolize and eliminate waste products that the body does not need. An intact and healthy liver is crucial for good overall health.

ALAT is measured together with other biomarkers as a part of checking your liver status and function, which can be of interest for several reasons, including:

Evaluating or investigating for potential liver damage due to injury or abuse of drugs or alcohol
Early detection to identify liver diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, allowing for early intervention and treatment
Monitor effects on the liver from treatments that may damage the liver such as statins against high levels of cholesterol
Evaluate effectiveness of treatment for liver diseases



High levels ALAT



High levels of ALAT indicate liver damage or liver disease. ASAT is found in the cytoplasm of the liver cells, so when liver cells are damaged or destroyed, ASAT is released into the bloodstream, resulting in elevated levels.

Some common causes of increased ALAT levels are:

Inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection
Alcohol and drug related liver disease
Chronic damage to the liver due to high alcohol intake over time
Bile duct obstruction
High intake of medications and supplements damaging the liver
Autoimmune liver diseases

Important note: An elevated ALAT alone is not enough to provide a definitive diagnosis of liver disease. Complementing tests to further investigate underlying reasons for affected ALAT may be necessary.



Low levels of ALAT



Low levels of ALAT are in general considered to be within the normal range and do not indicate a specific health condition. Therefore, low levels are not a cause for concern and do not require specific treatment.

However, very low levels of ALAT may be an indication of malnutrition or severe liver damage where the liver’s function is impaired. It is important to know that ALAT is simply one biomarker for liver health, and that other tests of liver function are necessary to fully evaluate liver function.