T Nation

High Liver Enzymes and Lifting


Doctor ran an enzyme test before putting me on some meds, just to make sure my liver was healthy enough to handle it. One of the scores came up just a little high (6 points), but they didn't tell me which one. So they had me come back in two weeks to test again. Still high. Did an ultrasound on my liver and nothing negative showed up.

I've been doing some research on my own, and found that 'excessive' heavy lifting could contribute to high liver enzyme scores. I'm not in any other risk groups, and I lift five days a week. Could this be an indicator that I'm out-working my recovery capacity? I haven't been making very good progress lately, despite throwing more volume in for the past few months.

I've already decreased my workload back to three lifts per muscle group for 3x5 or 3x8. Just wondering if anybody had any thoughts or experience on this.


Ive had the same occurrence. I went through a battery of tests, including a bone marrow aspiration. They couldn't contribute the elevated enzymes to anything. I mentioned I workout 5-6 times per week but they seemed to shrug that off as unimportant. I'm confident that was the cause. This was about 4 years ago and I have had no symptoms of liver problems or any other problems for that matter. Seems to be a common issues with weightlifters from my reading and research.


Yeah, they shrugged me off when I suggested it, too. Doctor even acted offended that I was trying to educate myself on what was going on. Ended up pissing him off. He told me that 'certain' extreme diets could lead to elevated levels, so I asked him whether he was talking about high-cal or low-cal, or if he was talking about ketosis or what. He kinda gave me the roundabout so I told him "if you don't know, that's ok, you can tell me". So he frowned and excused himself. I'll be insistent on seeing someone else from now on.


If it was ALT (alanine amino transferase), it could just be from damaged muscle cells. And elevated ALT is often a sign of liver damage, so I kinda like my theory. High volume fits. It's beautiful.

On a slightly related note, one of my professors had so high AST levels after working out for the first time in years that it seemed like he'd had a heart attack.

Ask your doc. Or demand to get a copy of your chart if you guys also have the legal right to do so.