Causes of Elevated Alanine Aminotransferase Enzyme

Subject: Diagnostics
Pages: 1
Words: 374
Reading time:
2 min

The liver is a crucial organ in the body with numerous functions. An unhealthy liver will manifest in an individual through specific signs and symptoms. A preliminary examination of a liver will inform the doctor to conduct further tests. A physician will ascertain a liver malfunction through a liver function test by checking for elevated levels of enzymes in the blood. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is one of the liver enzymes critical for the liver’s effective functioning. A damaged or unhealthy liver can release high ALT levels, which a doctor can confirm through a function test. Elevated levels of ALT can be caused by a viral infection, liver disease, or certain medications.

An individual or a doctor should take elevated ALT levels seriously because it may be a warning sign that something might be harming the liver. Liver disease, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is one of the leading causes of elevated ALT levels amongst children in America (Malakouti et al., 2017). The mild form of the disease is common and can be treated through home therapies. However, individuals should be keen on some medicines because they can cause drug-induced liver injury (Seager et al., 2018). Such treatments usually cause mild liver interruptions, but the damage can be severe in a few cases. Viral infections such as a common cold or Epstein-Barr virus can affect the liver and cause elevations of the ALT enzyme (Malakouti et al., 2017). Most times, elevated ALT levels in the liver do not mean a severe liver condition, but a doctor should confirm that with further tests. The liver should remain healthy at all times because of how crucial the organ is to the body.

Certain medications and liver diseases are some of the causes of elevated ALT enzymes in the liver. However, most causes of liver enzyme elevation are not critical and can be treated with home therapies. To reduce the risk of liver infections, individuals should avoid over the counter medications because some can cause liver injury. The body’s immune system often fights viral infections; consequently, the public should categorize them as mild ALT elevation causes. Maintaining a healthy liver is essential for a healthy person; therefore, there should be limited exposure to enzyme elevation causes.


Malakouti, M., Kataria, A., Ali, S. K., & Schenker, S. (2017). Elevated liver enzymes in asymptomatic patients–what should I do? Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology, 5(4), 394. Web.

Seager, S. L., Slabaugh, M. R., & Hansen, M. S. (2018). Chemistry for today: General, organic, and biochemistry (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.