Don’t ask me why, but lately I’ve seen a rash of patients with elevated liver enzymes.  When enzyme levels are elevated, it’s an indication that an organ in the body may be under stress or inflamed.  In the case of your liver, it may also be related to being overweight or obese. Below are some reasons your liver enzymes may be high.

 

  1. Medications– Tyelenol/acetominophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aleve, ibuprofen, etc) and some prescription medications (such as statins used to lower cholesterol or antibiotics) can increase LFTs if used in excess over time. NEVER take tyelenol after drinking alcohol and limit use of other medications when possible.

 

  1. Alcohol– Limit alcohol of any kind if your liver enzymes are elevated. Drink in moderation (1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men) if at all or quit if your doctor advises you to.

 

  1. Obesity or being overweight- can lead to NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or fat accumulation in the liver). Lose weight if you are overweight to prevent fatty liver disease. Left untreated, fatty liver disease may lead to cirrhosis- permanent scarring of the liver.

 

  1. Hepatitis can increase LFTs. This includes Hepatitis A, B or C.

 

  1. Hemochromatosis– a condition where the liver stores excessive amounts of iron, can cause LFTs to be high.

 

  1. Celiac disease- a digestive condition where a person cannot tolerate gluten from wheat, oats, barley and rye may raise LFTs.

 

  1. Pancreatitis or cholecystitis– inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder inflammation may both increase LTFs.

 

  1. Use of herbal supplements such as kava kava, comfrey, pennyroyal, skullcap, or certain other herbal supplements may raise LFTs.  Supplements are not regulate by the FDA.

 

  1. Diabetes may increase LFTs as excess sugar in your blood may be related to insulin resistance and obesity.

 

  1. IV (intravenous nutrition) increases LFTs because bile is being backed up when it is not being used to digest fat in the gastrointestinal system.

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