T Nation

Elevated Liver Enzymes


I had a routine blood lab and my alanine transaminase (ALT) came back at 78 u/l. My doc said he's not too worried about it but wants me to get my lab redone to be safe.

Any idea what caused this? I hardly ever consume alcohol. thanks.


lifting weights.

google it


Nothing to worry about as far as I know.


What other blood tests did you have?


Just the normal...lipid panel, liver function, etc.


Well I know from experience an over-active thyroid will lead to elevated liver stress. Am sure there are plenty of other things that could do.
I did have similar liver score issues while at university, doctor kept trying to tell me I was taking creatine that was the issue (I wasn't), simply muscle damage from weights and sports.



How high have you guys seen liver enzymes elevated from lifting? Especially anyone that lifts at least 6 days a week? I am just asking becuase i know my liver enzymes were fairly elevated but at the time i was doing an asinine amount of volume everyday of the week


During the time of the test i was doing over 100 pushups and 100 situps everyday and running 2-3 times per week on top of my normal training(3 days a week.) The daily puhsups and situps were to get ready for a PT test, but I hadn't trained for about 5 days prior to the bloodwork.


I went through this same issue. I tried to explain to my physician it was likely due to weight lifting. he wouldnt believe me so sent me to a number of specialists who too wouldnt listen.

I had about 20 blood tests, ultrasounds, a bone marrow aspiration (hurt like fuck becuase the little doc couldnt get through my breastplate), and was about to have a liver biopsy when I ended it. 7 years later I still have them elevated but show no symptoms of illness or disease, so in the end it was the weightlifting.


Cally: they did a bone marrow biopsy on your sternum??? Damn dude, those basically havent been done with any regularity in like 15 years. I have no idea why they did not go iliac crest for you. Much much less dangerous for obvious reasons.

OP: Elevated transaminases (AST/ALT) can occur from many varied processes. Normal for either is ~40. At your level of elevation I would have simply repeated it too. Without clinical correlation it really is something to follow/trend and not a finding at which to start throwing a bunch of subsequent testing.


Ya right in the sternum. I just put my trust in the docs, I mean they were oncologists so I figured they knew what to do. Ha guess not. Wish I had of known this info at that time. Man that hurt.


My liver enzymes have come back around 100. If i take a few days off before the blood work though they are in the normal range.


This article talks about that: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291230/

Question, though: Do the elevated AST, ALT, etc. readings that weight lifting causes mean that it's actually doing some harm to the liver, i.e. is it something we should worry about, or is it just some temporary rise in those values which doesn't signal any actual harm or disease?

In other words, are elevated AST/ALT readings caused by weightlifting necessarily a problem?

Thanks in advance.


I dont know. I have too much other shit to worry about besides whether lifting weights is outpacing my liver's ability to regenerate.


my second lab came back at 92 u/l. My doc is sending me for an ultra sound.


ALT is short for ALanine Transaminase
AST is short for ASpartate Transaminase
They are enzymes that can transfer amino groups between amino acids. They exist both in the liver and in skeletal muscle since they have an important job in both tissues.

When you train hard, your muscles break, causing these enzymes to leak out into the blood. When your blood is tested, noone sees where it came from, they just se high ALT.

Your liver is (probably) fine, high AST/ALT just means your muscles are temporarily damaged. In this case.


Ahh, I see. Nice. I appreciate the explanation.


kakno wrote: When you train hard, your muscles break, causing these enzymes to leak out into the blood. When your blood is tested, noone sees where it came from, they just se high ALT

This is correct!

Animal Mother you should halt your workout 2 weeks before your liver panel blood work.

I see a thousands of patients ultrasounds with elevated liver enzymes with normal liver evaluation. Be careful not to be a victim of unnecessary procedures.

READ UP and master the knowledge of what is going on with your health. You may educate a doc or two.

Good Luck!


I think my problem was caused by the protein powder I was taking. It's the only supp I was taking.

I had right upper quadrant discomfort for a week or so and it has subsided considerably since I stopped taking it.

Any idea how long it takes for the liver to go back to normal?


It was not the result of the protein supplement. The answer was given to you in this thread but you are choosing not to accept it. The answer in right above your post.