Low Liver Enzymes: 8 Causes, 9 Types, Diagnosis and Treatments

Low liver enzymes can be caused by many sorts of diseases. Let us explore all the causes of low liver enzymes and also their treatments.

The liver is a crucial part of the body without it your body cannot remain healthy and strong for a long time. The primary function of a liver is to remove the toxins and waste from the body. However, it also has other functions, and they include synthesizing proteins that are of importance when it comes blood clotting.

The liver also helps control the glucose levels and the process the haemoglobin waste products in the blood. Finally, the liver is also responsible for promoting the metabolism of nutrients and medication and the storage of bile, fats, vitamins, and cholesterol.

However, the functioning of the liver is not possible without the help of enzymes. The enzymes present in the liver enable the liver to function adequately by accelerating the chemical reactions inside the liver.

Because of the existence of these enzymes, the liver can carry out diverse functions. Without the liver performing these diverse functions, it is impossible for the body to have clean blood, detoxify, metabolise fats, digest properly, and excrete.

The insufficient amount of these protein enzymes indicates that the liver cells are either damaged or impaired. Low liver enzymes affects the proper functioning of the liver and the overall health of a person.

Types of Liver Enzymes:

low liver enzymes
Low liver enzymes
Image source: nih.gov

The enzymes below are essential for the liver to function normally and they are:

  1. Albumin:

Albumin is a crucial protein that is present in the blood and produced in the liver. It is not possible for a badly damaged liver to produce Albumin. The normal range of albumin in the body is 3.4 to 5.4 g per deciliter.

  1. Globulin:

The immune system and liver are responsible for the production of the protein Globulin. Globulin and Albumin are the two main protein enzymes present in the blood. The normal protein level of the body is calculated by using the Globulin and Albumin levels in the blood. The normal protein level of the body ranges between 6.0 to 8.3 grams per deciliter.

  1. Prothrombin:

Prothrombin is a protein enzyme produced by the liver. The primary function of the prothrombin is to help in the blood clotting process. To determine how fast your blood clots, a prothrombin time test is taken to help measure the blood clotting speed of your body. If the International Normalized Ratio (INR) is above 11, then your blood takes longer to clot.

  1. Alanine Aminotransferase or ALT:

ALT is only present in the liver. Its primary function is to assist in metabolizing process of the proteins in the body. A normal functioning liver has ALT levels of 10 to 40 international units per litre.

  1. Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST:

AST is present in the heart, other body tissues, and the liver. The normal range for AST in the blood is 10 to 34 international units per litre. The presence of AST and ALT in the body is to help the liver metabolize amino acids and help in the production of proteins.

  1. Alkaline Phosphatase or ALP:

All the body tissues have ALP. However, the bile ducts, liver, and bones contain the larger quantities of ALP. A normal ALP range is from 44 to 147 international units per litre.

  1. Bilirubin:

During the breakdown of the RBC’s or red blood cells, the process releases a waste product known as Bilirubin. The normal range for the presence of Bilirubin in the body is 0.3 to 1.9 mg/dL. However, a low level of Bilirubin is not an issue of major concern.

  1. Gamma-glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT):

GGT is an enzyme present in the blood. The normal range of GGT in the blood is between 0 to 51 international units per litre.

  1. Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH):

LDH is an enzyme present in the liver. The normal range of the LDH enzyme is between 105 to 333 international units per litre. However, when the levels of LDH elevate, there is a cause for concern.

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The decrease or increase of the above enzymes leads to the serious damage of the liver.

Causes of Low liver enzymes:

The various enzymes present in the liver assist it in carrying out the numerous tasks it has to accomplish. The low liver enzymes is an indication of damage to the liver, and this affects the proper functioning of the liver. Therefore, what causes low liver levels?

  1. Liver diseases:

Liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis can lead to the low liver enzymes. Some of the liver diseases include liver cirrhosis, among others. The adverse effects that liver cirrhosis and other diseases have affect the functioning of the enzymes resulting in low liver levels.

  1. Hepatitis:

Hepatitis also affects the liver enzymes and causes the low liver enzymes, which leads to liver damage that is irreversible.

  1. Low protein diet:

The main component of the liver enzymes is protein. If proteins are not readily available in the body for the manufacture of liver enzymes, then there will be a low liver enzymes presence, which prevents the liver from functioning.

  1. Protein Deficiency

A protein deficiency has the same results as a low protein diet. A protein deficiency leads to a low liver enzymes production, and it results in the liver not functioning adequately.

  1. Serious Diarrhoea
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Iron deficiency
  4. Kidney diseases

Signs and Symptoms of low liver enzymes:

The symptoms that indicate low liver enzymes are mostly liver disease indicators. These indicators include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Tenderness in Abdomen
  • Nausea

It is vital to note that the symptoms of low liver levels vary from one individual to another. For most people, the symptoms observed for low liver enzymes may be mild, while others may have no symptoms.

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Diagnosis of Low liver enzymes:

Diagnosis is the appropriate method to use when trying to find out whether you have low liver enzymes.

There are some tests available to help diagnose low liver enzymes. Here are some of the common tests

Alanine transaminase test (ALT): The ALT test helps to determine whether there are high levels of ALT in the blood. The higher the ALT levels, the more damage it causes to your liver.

Alkaline phosphatase test (ALP): The ALP test determines if there are high levels of ALP. High ALP levels indicate liver disease or damage, bone disease, or a clogged bile duct.

Total protein and Albumin test: Low levels of Albumin and proteins indicate liver damage or disease.

Aspartate transaminase test (AST): High levels of AST in the blood indicate that there is damage to the liver or liver disease.

Bilirubin test: Like mentioned earlier, the enzyme Bilirubin is a waste product that comes about when there is a break down of RBC’s or red blood cells. Generally, the liver detoxifies the body by cleaning the Bilirubin outside of the system.

However, elevated levels of Bilirubin indicate that the liver is unable to get rid of the Bilirubin from the body. The high levels of Bilirubin also cause Jaundice.

Gamma-glutamyltransferase test (GGT): When high levels of GGT enzymes are found in the body, it could indicate bile duct damage or Liver damage.

L-lactate dehydrogenase test (LD): High levels of LD in the test indicate low liver levels.

Prothrombin time test (PT): The PT test measures the amount of time the blood takes to clot. If your blood takes too long to a clot that may be a sign of low liver enzymes resulting in liver damage

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Apart from the enzyme tests to check for Low liver enzymes, there are some other ways used to diagnose low liver enzymes. They include the use of CT scans, MRI machines, Ultrasounds among others. These machines are effective as they help detect the defective enzymes in the body.

 Treatment of Low liver enzymes:

The test helps the doctor come up with a diagnosis. With a diagnosis, it is possible for the doctor to determine the right treatment for the low liver enzymes condition. The first mode of treatment is the prescription of medicine. However, supplementing a healthy diet with the medicine helps increase the healing rate of the body.

According to health experts, the essential aspect when treating low liver levels is the total change of lifestyle. Ensure you incorporate a high-fibre diet that contains saturated fats and is low in calories.

People with an alcohol addiction should also avoid alcohol. Diseases that led to low liver levels like Diabetes with regular medication triglyceride and Cholesterol levels should be controlled.

Regular exercise and management of stress are also essential in the treatment of low liver enzymes. Remember Low liver levels lead to liver damage or liver disease. Liver damage is a silent killer since the symptoms do not appear in the beginning stages of the disease. Therefore, ensure you get regular checkups to help keep your liver healthy.

A healthy liver means a healthy body. Like mentioned earlier, the liver performs a majority of the essential functions in the body. Without the liver, our bodies cannot function properly. Therefore, ensuring your liver is healthy starts with making sure that the enzymes that help the liver function are sufficient.

Reference:

https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/hepc-guide/liver-function-test-lft#2

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