Elevation of liver enzymes

What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases

Transaminases are a group of enzymes that play an important role in amino acid production. Although they are found throughout the body, these enzymes are particularly present in the liver, so their values are used to indicate health of the body, demonstrating different possibilities of suffering from liver conditions. Want to know more about this topic? In this article OneHowTo article we explain what can cause elevated transaminases.

You may also be interested in: How to Lower Transaminase Levels

Steps to follow:


Transaminase levels in the body are measured by a simple blood test, however the normal values of these enzymes vary by type. In the test we can find various types of transaminases:

  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), also known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT). Normal values between 10 and 34 IU/L.
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), also known as serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT). Normal values are between 10 and 40 IU/L.
  • Gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), normal values range from 0 to 51 IU/L.
What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases - Step 1

Elevated transaminases suggest the presence of a liver condition, although you need other tests and medical examinations to know for sure. It is therefore very important that if after a blood test your levels of AST, ALT and GGT are higher than normal, that you visit your doctor with the results.


If your blood tests show high levels of AST and/or ALT transaminases, possible causes are:

  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Hepatic steatosis or fatty liver
  • Hepatitis
  • Mononucleosis
  • Hemochromatosis or iron overload in the body
  • Muscle disease or muscle trauma
  • Intake of drugs or substances toxic to the liver
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic ischemia, or lack of blood flow to the liver
  • Death of liver tissue
  • A tumour or liver cancer
  • Heart attack
What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases - Step 3

If you have elevated GGT transaminases, you may have any of the conditions listed above or one of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Cholestasis or blockage of bile flow to the liver
  • Lung disease

Having elevated transaminases is a very serious and important condition that requires immediate medical attention, as it is essential in determining the cause of this condition which could be caused by common conditions like a fatty liver, mononucleosis or inflammation of the pancreas, or more serious conditions in which the health of the patient is at risk. Once you have the results of the blood test, visit your doctor.

What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases - Step 5

Many liver conditions have no symptoms, so eat a balanced diet, stay physically active and take the necessary precautions to take care of your liver which is essential if you want to stay healthy.

And if you want to know more about this topic, in our article how to lower transaminases, we give you some recommendations that you can try out depending on your health.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What Can Cause Elevated Transaminases