Learn about the main causes responsible for elevated liver enzymes, as well as 8 natural ways you can lower them.
High liver enzymes generally signify that your liver may be in trouble. In this article you’ll discover what types of liver enzymes may be elevated, what causes high liver enzymes, including 8 solutions to lowering liver enzymes, naturally (1).
What Liver Enzymes May Be Elevated?
Elevated liver enzymes indicating potential cellular damage include the following aminotransferases:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)
AST and ALT are the most frequently measured enzymes, although GGT is measured occasionally, especially in alcoholic liver disease.
10 Top Causes of High Liver Enzymes
While most of the time mildly elevated liver enzymes are only temporary and do not indicate a chronic problem, often they do indicate there is a problem and the liver is suffering.
Elevated liver enzymes are most often caused by:
- Viral infections such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Liver and pancreatic cancer
- Metabolic syndrome
- Medications such as Tylenol, cold preparations, statins, niacin, antibiotics
- Alcohol misuse
- Heart failure
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Malnutrition or poor diet in general
Although the above list is not exhaustive, keep in mind that a fatty liver is by far the most common cause of elevated liver enzymes.
8 Natural Approaches to Lowering Liver Enzymes
Many liver diseases have no pharmacological treatment, and taking steps to heal the liver naturally is the best option. Lifestyle changes such as following a nutritionally adequate diet, getting enough exercise, avoiding toxins, and maintaining optimum weight may all contribute to liver healing and a normalization of liver enzymes.
1. Exercise & Lifestyle
Research shows that exercise, independent of weight loss, lowers liver enzymes. A 2011 study on resistance exercise that reached aerobic potential showed a reduced ALT and AST by 47% and 48% respectively in a 12-week exercise intervention program. Liver fat was also reduced (2).
Exercise typically aids in weight control, another lifestyle intervention that lowers liver enzymes.
Obesity is an independent predictor of ALT increases in young people, but not in children (3). In children and young people, abnormal levels of serum aminotransferases lead to a greater burden of liver disease in adulthood.
The CDC reports that over 50% of the population is overweight, 25% are obese, and 90% of these two groups have elevated liver enzymes.
2. Diet Modification
Research has shown that consumption of olive oil (4) and omega-3 fatty acids (5), both characteristic of the Mediterranean Diet, may be beneficial in liver health.
Decreasing total fat consumption and shifting to monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil (20-40% of total energy) or n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil (2 g/day) could lead to a decrease in postprandial lipidemia and liver fat (steatosis) with a consequential decrease in liver enzymes.
Decreasing cholesterol in the diet by following a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet may also help decrease liver enzymes (1).
Increasing omega-3 fatty acids (which can be found in walnuts, fish, and more!), adding water-soluble fibers to the diet, avoiding trans and saturated fats, and reducing meat may provide a more favorable lipoprotein ratio and cholesterol levels, which are inversely related to liver enzyme levels.
A high LDL cholesterol level is associated with 2.5 x greater odds of having an elevated ALT according to a population-based study (6).
According to a 2013 study on the effect of changing lunch composition to contain more vegetables, eating more vegetables was found to lower ALT levels (1). Subjects were provided the healthy lunch for one month after a one-week washout period and ALT levels were measured.
Research shows that gut microbiota (GM) affects liver lipid metabolism and influences the balance between pro/anti-inflammatory cells in the liver. It is theorized that probiotics can normalize the GM and improve the liver enzymes, hepatic steatosis and reduce inflammation (7).
A growing number of studies show that the host-gut microbiome interaction and physiology of dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) may promote the development of liver disease.
Bacterial metabolites, immune-related effects and energy extraction/balance disruption in the GM might promote liver disease progression.
Therefore, restoring dysbiosis through correction of these problems with the use of a probiotic may improve liver enzyme levels.
Probiotics are found in yogurts that contain active cultures, in kefir, as well as in supplements, such as Natural Wellness’s Ultra Probiotic Formula.
Coffee is one of the most popular hot beverages consumed worldwide! It is a polyphenol compound containing caffeine, and either whole coffee or its specific components have been shown to decrease fatty acid synthesis, liver fibrogenesis, and hepatic inflammation. It is also an excellent antioxidant (7).
A lowering of GGT levels was first seen in 1986 and associated with increased liver health. This large population-based study was followed by several smaller epidemiological studies that confirmed the reduction in levels of liver enzymes and GGT in both whole and decaffeinated coffee consumers.
Coffee was also found to be associated with less fibrosis, lower hospitalization rates, and lower mortality rates in alcoholic liver diseases (8).
The addition of milk or creamers decreased or delayed the beneficial absorption of polyphenols found in coffee. Polyphenols are thought to be responsible for some of the beneficial effects seen in coffee drinkers.
In several studies, silymarin (milk thistle) has been shown to reduce liver enzymes and to improve liver health. It is a polyphenol, has been shown to stimulate liver regeneration, as well as to reduce liver inflammation and fibrogenesis.
Treatment with silybin (from milk thistle) plus phosphatidylcholine coformulated with vitamin E for 12 months was associated with an improvement in liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and liver histology in 138 patients with NAFLD (4).
6. Folic Acid
A folate deficiency may increase the risk of damage to the liver and potentially be a link to liver cancer. Taking supplements of folic acid may reduce ALT levels.
A 2011 study showed that supplementation with .8 mg. folic acid in 455 participants lowered ALT levels in men whose ALT levels were elevated (1).
Another study with children who were experiencing drug induced liver injuries were randomized to receive either silymarin (5 mg/kg/day) or folic acid (1 mg per day) and followed for 3 months.
The decreased trend in ALT and AST were stronger in the folic acid group as compared to the silymarin group, although both groups showed decreases (9).
7. Toxin Avoidance
Keeping liver enzymes low means protecting your liver from toxic insults from excessive alcohol, environmental toxins, smoking, and poisons in the environment as much as possible (1).
Drink bottled or filtered water, avoid second-hand smoke, do not drink excessively, take precautions when working with chemicals, avoid charred meat, and avoid unnecessary medications such as Tylenol, etc.
Supplementing with certain herbs and living a lifestyle that enhances the detoxification process in the liver aides in cleansing the toxins from your system.
Curcumin (turmeric), like Natural Wellness’s Turmeric 95, is a widely used herb virtually endowed by various functionalities that protect the liver and keep oxidative stress at a minimum. Oxidative stress is a hallmark of liver disease. Turmeric also helps the liver process fat.
Chronic liver disease, accompanied by increased oxidative stress regardless of the liver insult, is responsive to curcumin treatment for fibrosis, cancer, and cellular dysfunction (10).
A study of a group taking 3 grams of turmeric daily for 12 weeks showed markedly lower AST and ALT levels compared to the control group (11).
Allowing liver enzymes to remain elevated only increases your risk of further liver demise and potential liver cancer. Taking proactive steps to lower your liver enzyme levels will pay off in the long run with a zestier, longer life.
The good news is that you can use the 8 solutions discussed above to help heal your liver and lower those liver enzymes naturally without drugs.
- Sissons, B. (2019, September 24). Natural ways to lower ALT levels. Medical News Today. Retrieved 4/20/2020 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326425
- Hallsworth, K., Gattakhova, G, Hollingsworth, K., Thoma, C., Moore, S. and Trenell, M. (2011). Resistance exercise reduces liver fat and its mediators in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease independent of weight loss. Hepatology, 60:1278-1283. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gut.2011.242073
- Li, W., Homer K., Hull, S., Boomla, K. Robson J. and Alazawi, W. (2020). Obesity predicts liver function testing and abnormal liver results. The Obesity Society, 28:132-138. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22669
- Assy, N. Nassar, F., Nassar, G. and Grosovski, M. (2009) Olive oil consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. World J. Gastroenterology. 15 (15):1809-1815. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.15.1809
- Del Ben, M, Polimeni, L, Baratta, F, Pastori, D and Angelico, F. (2016). The role of nutraceuticals for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Br J Clin Pharmacol, (2017) 83:88-95. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.12899
- Deb, S., Puthanveetil, P. and Sakharkar, P. (2018). A population-based cross-sectional study of the association between liver enzymes and lipid levels. International Journal of Hepatology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1286170
- Xie, C and Halegoua-DeMarzio, D. (2019). Role of probiotics in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: does gut microbiota matter? Nutrients, 11(11):2837. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112837
- Alferink, L. J. (2018). Potential mechanisms underlying the role of coffee in liver health. Semin Liver Dis, 38(03):193-214. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1666869
- Asgarshirazi, M, Shariat, M and Sheikh, M. (2017). Comparison of efficacy of folic acid and silymarin in the management of antiepileptic drug induced liver injury: a randomized clinical trial. Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Diseases International, 16(3):296-302. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/S1499-3872(16)60142-X
- M.H. Zobeiri, M., Parvizi, F., El-Senduny, F.F., Marmouzi, I. and Abdollahi, M. (2018). Curcumin in liver diseases: A systematic review of the cellular mechanisms of oxidative stress and clinical perspective. Nutrients, 10(7):855. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073929/
- Tumeric for liver health. (2013, March). TRC Natural Medicines. Retrieved 4/21/2020 from https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/news/news-items/2013/march/turmeric-for-liver-health.aspx
About the Author
Kathy Shattler, BS, MS, RDN
Kathy Shattler has been a Registered Dietitian for over 25 years and currently runs her own Telehealth Clinic while freelance writing in her spare time. She graduated with a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from Michigan State University and has a plethora of experience in both clinical nutrition as well as public health. She has been deemed a trailblazer in her profession and continues to strive for excellence in public health education in integrative medicine.
- Reducing daily alcohol intake: ...
- Consuming more caffeine: ...
- Switching to natural and organic foods: ...
- Consuming more fruits and vegetables: ...
- Increasing intake of dietary fiber: ...
- Exercising regularly: ...
- Weight reduction: ...
- Quitting smoking:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Lean meats.
- Fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout.
- High-fiber foods like whole-grain breads, rice, and cereal.
- Fat-free or low-fat milk and other dairy products.
Sometimes, factors such as hormonal changes or reactions to medications can cause temporarily elevated liver enzyme levels. Elevated levels caused by these factors will generally return to normal in about 2 to 4 weeks without treatment.
Keeping it functioning properly is vital to good health, and the liver enzymes levels must be maintained within a certain range.
Tests showing elevated liver enzymes may indicate a serious liver issue or be the result of certain medications such as antibiotics or over-the-counter pain relief medication.. Your liver enzymes are proteins vital to the functioning of the liver.. If you drink excessively, it could lead to liver damage as it secretes high liver enzymes into the bloodstream.. Like us, our liver needs a time out break occasionally and the best way to lower liver enzymes levels is to detoxify the liver.. Our liver enzymes are responsible for the normal functioning process of our liver.
Learn about necessary liver enzyme processes, what an elevation in liver enzymes means, symptoms associated with the condition and how to lower enzyme levels fast using natural methods and by living healthfully.
The European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry published a study that documents the therapeutic use of milk thistle for numerous liver disorders, including jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis (alcoholic liver disease), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and gallbladder complications.. An additional double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine found that individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who consumed green tea for 12 weeks saw a reduction in fatty liver deposits, a reduction in oxidative stress on the liver and a normalization of liver enzymes.. A high level of liver enzymes does not necessarily mean that the liver is producing excessive enzymes.. A doctor may order a liver function test or liver chemistries which will reveal protein, enzyme and bilirubin levels in your blood in order to analyze the health of your liver and potential underlying causes of damage.. Often attributed to Hepatitis B and C. Fatty Liver or Hepatic Steatosis: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when portions of the liver cells contain higher than normal fat.. Blood tests, ultrasounds or biopsies may be ordered to diagnose ascites, viral hepatitis, liver failure, liver abscess or liver tumors.. Once a diagnosis is made, it is best to have a liver function test (LFT) done once every six months or even more frequently, as advised by your doctor or health professional until the liver enzymes return to a normal level.. While I wrote this series of hubs on liver transplant and other issues related to the liver, I completely understood how important it is to keep our liver healthy.
After having elevated liver enzymes for over a year, I finally lowered them naturally. Here’s how.
In May 2017, my liver enzymes tested high.. As you can see in the image below, they lowered some over the next few months, but not enough to get into the normal range.. In March, my doctor told me he wanted me to stop taking all supplements except for vitamin D because he wanted to see what my enzymes would do.. I decided to go against doctor’s orders and start taking a supplement again.. I had my follow-up appointment today, and he approved these supplements I’m about to tell you about!. The supplement I’m taking is Livatone Plus.. From the seller (The Liver Doctor):. Bone broth is believed to heal the gut, and when the gut is healed, everything else starts working the way it should.
Elevated liver enzymes are a symptom of overuse, but simple dietary and lifestyle changes can lower liver enzyme levels back to a healthy balance.
Elevated liver enzymes are a symptom of overuse, but simple dietary and lifestyle changes can lower liver enzyme levels back to a healthy balance.. Causes of Elevated Liver Enzymes Lifestyle contributors such as obesity and drinking alcohol can impair the liver’s optimal functioning and cause elevated liver enzymes.. Symptoms of Liver Disease There is no single list of symptoms that point to liver disease , because the liver is involved in so many different processes.. Normal Range of Liver Enzymes The two most straightforward liver enzymes to test for and evaluate are AST and ALT.. This damage causes the liver to leak high liver enzymes into the bloodstream; therefore, stopping drinking is critical to your health.. Diet to Lower Liver Enzymes Many natural foods can detoxify the liver to get it back to an optimal state, so following a diet that can lower liver enzymes will certainly help.. A damaged liver can’t process protein as efficiently as it used to, so try to avoid high protein foods until your liver enzymes are stable.. Eating a diet high in leafy green vegetables can make sure that your liver is receiving the necessary vitamins and nutrients for healthy functioning, and can make sure you reduce fat stored in the liver.. By reducing the amount of cholesterol your liver has to process, you increase liver health and lower enzyme levels.. Healthy foods can support the liver, but unhealthy foods can damage the liver.. Herbal Teas to Lower Liver Enzymes There are a number of natural herbs that can be used to support liver function.
It might be time to give the hard-working liver a well deserved break by eating the following 15 naturally cleansing foods.
Really, your liver is responsible for cleaning the body of toxins (i.e., processed foods, chemicals in body care products, alcohol) to keep your internal organs running effectively.. Lemon has naturally cleansing abilities.. Avocados happen to be high in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that can actually repair damaged cells in your liver.. Several studies not only show that adults who have low levels of zinc are linked to alcohol induced liver damage–upping levels of zinc can also protect the liver and digestive tract from booze, including protecting babies from the damaging effects of alcohol during pregnancy (i.e., early mortality like stillbirth).. This amino acid is used for digestive aid support, specifically for bile production, and luckily dandelion root has the richest concentration needed to stimulate bile production and bile transport toxins out of the body.. Healthy fats are necessary for our daily diet for many reasons.. WebMd claims that, “drinking two to three cups a day can protect your liver from damage caused by too much alcohol or an unhealthy diet.” That being said, what you put in your coffee could potentially be damaging to your liver.. While there’s still more research needed on how necessary it is to detox the liver, it wouldn’t hurt to eat more broccoli sprouts because they have amazing health benefits that extend even further than the liver.. Even though WebMD points out that there’s no proof that liver cleanses and detoxes are necessary or that they help the liver function better.. However, it also goes on to say that just as there is no evidence that liver detoxes and cleanses work, there’s not enough evidence to support that milk thistle improves the function of the liver.. What You Should Know About Liver Cleanse Supplements. Healthy Foods Your Liver Will Thank You For
The liver is responsible for metabolism and storage of nutrients, vitamins, fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Find the list of foods not to eat with elevated liver enzymes
The liver contains 2 major liver enzymes, namely;. The liver enzymes are released into the blood circulation in large amounts under conditions such as infection at any location within the body, specific infection, or inflammation of the liver.. This means that elevated liver enzymes in blood will be found in the presence of damage to the liver or bile duct.. In such cases, following certain lifestyle modifications and dietary restrictions becomes important as some foods can be bad for the liver and prevent the liver to recover faster, hence delaying its normal functions.. Fatty Foods Fatty foods in the form of excess cheese, butter, margarine, or fried oily foods and foods containing high amounts of saturated fats must be avoided with liver problems.. Reason – Fatty foods need to be cut off simply because the liver is responsible for the metabolism and storage of fats.. These functions are not carried by a damaged liver resulting in poor absorption and improper metabolism of fats by the liver.. While there is a long list of foods to avoid with liver diseases, there also exist certain foods which are known to be beneficial for the liver that helps to lower liver enzymes faster.. The liver receives blood supply through the gut which means that the liver is greatly influenced by what the intestine receives as regards diet and nutrition.. Once the liver is damaged due to any reason whatsoever, the first and foremost dietary guidelines are to avoid all those foods which may cause fullness, bloating, or which tend to worsen the signs and symptoms linked to the specific liver disorder.. However, certain guidelines have been laid down regarding diet to be followed with liver diseases and foods which are good for liver repair.. Apart from consuming suitable foods for liver repair, it is important to consult the doctor regularly for advice regarding medications, health supplements for liver along with dietary and lifestyle modification to help repair the liver faster.
How to Lower High Liver Enzymes: How to Optimize the Health of Your Liver. The liver is the most important organ of detoxification in the human body, and it's so vital for our health and our survival.
The liver is the most important organ of detoxification in the human body, and it's so vital for our health and our survival.. Your liver acts as a filter for your blood, and your entire blood supply will pass through your liver to be cleaned several times over a day.. Now, if something happens where your liver's detoxification capacities become impaired, then this is when the toxins in your blood begin to build up and disease can set in.. Some of the common causes are exposure to toxic chemicals, the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs, obesity, and diabetes.. Other common causes of a dysfunctional liver are viral infections, Hepatitis B and C. These two conditions combined, affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.. Ninety percent of people infected with Hepatitis B will eventually develop antibodies that make them immune to any future infections.. FIND OUT YOUR LIVER’S HEALTH:. But, as I mentioned earlier, there aren't always conspicuous symptoms to let you know that your liver is impaired or breaking down.. However, occasionally, your body will exhibit certain signs and symptoms when your liver begins to break down or becomes impaired.. You have to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and you have to take in nutrients that support the health of your liver.. Another source of chemical contaminants in your immediate environment can be the foods that you eat, things like fruits and vegetables with a high pesticide load or also animal products that contain antibiotics or hormones.. Now when it comes to supporting and strengthening the health of your liver, there are three great supplements that I usually recommend to my clients and they are Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, and NAC or N-Acetyl Cysteine.. It also enhances detoxification enzymes required for the liver to do its job and it can even help regenerate damaged liver cells.. The recommended dose for N-Acetyl Cysteine is 600 milligrams, taken one to two times every day.
The liver is the largest organ in our bodies. Not only that, but it’s also got huge responsibilities as far as metabolizing the foods we consume for energy conversion, and filtering and eliminating toxins via urination. Liver damage can begin with very few signs or symptoms. However, once the enzymes in your liver become elevated, […]
However, once the enzymes in your liver become elevated, health issues will follow quickly in the form of hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease.. Your liver can have a difficult time processing alcohol, especially if you drink a lot regularly – the liver processes alcohol like a toxin because it can have toxic effects on your liver.. Excessive drinking and alcoholism can severely damage your liver beyond repair.. Swap your name brand cleaners, hygiene products, and shampoos for natural varieties with no chemicals added.. And it’s also resulted in a lot of new companies on the market that offer natural and organic products, so it’s much easier to protect your liver by lessening your exposure to environmental toxins.. And since cutting processed foods from your diet is a simple way to promote liver health and prevent unnecessary damage, you should also consider eating foods that can cleanse your liver.. These are just some of the foods that can naturally cleanse the liver.. Triglycerides are a type of fat you get from food, as well as your own body – your liver naturally produces this fat when you eat, and is an extremely important part of proper liver function.. When you have too much triglyceride in your body, the excess is then stored to be used another time.. You can add fish oil to your body in two ways: through a daily supplement or by eating certain types of fish.. Elevated liver enzymes are determined by taking a blood test, and are often a sign of liver damage from alcoholism and some types of prescription drugs.. You can also cause damage to your health – including your liver – when certain supplements are combined with both prescription and non-prescription medications.
The liver plays a very important role in deactivating toxic debris in the body. Discover 4 ways to improve liver health naturally.
The most harmful things for liver health include environmental toxins, infectious organisms, alcohol and poor diet.. Alcohol and poor diet damage the liver as well.. Alcohol must go through the liver’s detoxification cycle to be metabolized and deactivated in the body.. Often times, individuals that consume a diet high in alcohol and processed foods are not consuming the key nutrients they need to produce glutathione, sulfotransferases and methylating agents.. Foods that are high in mycotoxins must be minimized as well.. These should be done whenever possible along with consuming liver healthy foods.. Eating liver from an organic, pasture-raised animal provides powerful nutritional support for liver health.. This is the Cytochrome P450 enzyme phase that transforms the toxins into a chemical form for further metabolism in phase II.. Consuming pastured eggs and liver from pasture-raised animals are a fantastic source of many of these key nutrients.. Phase II liver support is when the various toxins are conjugated into water soluble forms.. The key nutrients needed to boost phase II liver detoxification include methylating agents, glutathione and sulfur compounds ( 7 ).. Additional support comes from nutrients that improve bile flow , blood purification and soluble fiber sources.. This is the supplement that I use to reduce anti-body formation to the thyroid and support T4-T3 conversion by improving liver function.. This product also contains milk thistle which helps to heal damaged liver cells and improve all three phases of liver detox.. Additional Aspects of the Detoxification Process Link Here
Learning how to lower liver enzymes is good for your overall health and well-being. Follow 10 simple and effective tips here to help your liver function better.
Liver enzymes are critical to the normal everyday functioning of the liver and wondering how to lower liver enzymes is important to your overall health because elevated liver enzymes in the blood is often an indication that the liver is either damaged or inflamed.. If you have any of the mentioned conditions, you may be wondering how to lower liver enzymes because an increase in liver enzymes can break down and prevent the body from functioning properly, leading to complications and serious health issues.. There are various symptoms associated with increased liver enzymes.. To help the body perform the way it should, it is important that you do what is necessary to lower the liver enzyme level within the body.. Because of its strength, the liver process alcohol as a toxin, therefore, excessive alcohol drinking will lead to liver damage.. This damage causes the liver to leak high liver enzymes into the bloodstream; therefore, stopping drinking is critical to your health.. When taken over a long period of time, especially if you drink alcohol, these drugs can cause serious liver damage.. A diet high in whole foods and organic foods have been proven to lower liver enzymes, it has been known to lower the risks of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.. Triglyceride is naturally produced by the liver as it is an important substance needed for proper liver function.. While detoxing will help to lower liver enzymes, it is not only good for the liver; it is good for the entire body because other organs can benefit from a good detoxing, too.. Because the body needs protein to function properly, eating chicken, turkey, fish or "the other white meat" is a good alternative to provide the body with protein and prevent the liver from working overtime at the same time.. Knowing what to do and what to eat are important to your liver health and lower enzymes.