Elevation of liver enzymes

What is gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT)

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 25, 2022
What is gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT)
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Glutamyl transferase, also known as GGT, is a liver enzyme located in the liver cells. When, for whatever reason, liver cells are destroyed, this enzyme enters the bloodstream, which is why we can detect it with a blood test.

Through glutamyl transferase our body is able to metabolize various substances, so it is important that the GGT is at an appropriate level, in order to protect your liver from damage. On OneHowTo.com we explain what gamma glutamyl transferase is and what are the possible causes of its level changes.

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  1. Reference values
  2. Low gamma glutamyl transferase
  3. High gamma glutamyl transferase
  4. How to know if I need a GGT test

Reference values

It is important to know the reference values of the gamma glutamyl transferase enzyme. However, remember that these figures may vary slightly from one laboratory to another:

Women: 05 to 36 U/L

Men: 08 to 61 UI/L

Low gamma glutamyl transferase

Lower Levels GGT than the normal range may be due to the intake of drugs such as clofibrate or birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies containing oestrogen.

High gamma glutamyl transferase

High levels of GGT in the blood indicate that there is some kind of injury to the cells of our body that are rich in this enzyme. Frequent consumption of alcohol, drugs or the regular intake of certain medications can cause alteration of GGT. Some of the most common reasons why your levels increase are:

  • Alcoholism
  • Hepatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Cirrhosis
  • Lung or pancreas disease and heart failure
  • Lack of blood flow to the liver
  • Liver tumour
  • Use of drugs which are toxic to the liver

High levels of GGT can contribute to the appearance of coronary diseases, type 2 diabetes and strokes.

If your gamma glutamyl transferase values have altered, it is best to visit a haematologist for a full review.

How to know if I need a GGT test

Many people have never heard of GGT, but soon will if the doctor has detected any liver problems. If you think you might have a strange level of GGT you may experience:

  • Decrease in apetite
  • Vomiting
  • Energy loss
  • Abdominal pains
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine or light stool
  • Itchiness

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 is gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What is gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT)