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High transaminases: what they indicate, causes and treatment

Transaminases are enzymes that are produced in different parts of the body, especially in the liver. When there are high transaminases it means that an inflammatory process in the liver is under way.

The inflammation in the liver implies that there is destruction of the liver cells responsible for releasing these enzymes into the blood . The usual thing is that high transaminases are detected through a routine biochemical examination. The inflammatory process in the liver originates from various causes: viruses, infectious diseases, autoimmune, ischemic, toxic drugs or due to the accumulation of excess fat in the liver.

Transamines and health

The main function of transaminases is to help in the production of several amino acids . From the medical point of view, if a laboratory test indicates that there are high transaminases, it is considered a relevant data.

As noted, the usual is that there is inflammation in the liver. However, sometimes high transaminases also result from heart failure or rheumatic diseases. Be that as it may, it is a fact to which attention must be paid.

Transaminases are known by the acronym AST (GOT or TGO) and ALT (GPT or TGP). In most cases, the patient does not have any symptoms. The problem is only detected until a laboratory test reveals that there are high transaminase levels. In the same way, there are liver diseases that occur without elevating transaminases.

Meaning of high transaminases

Although they are not the only ones, there is talk of high transaminases when the values ​​of ALT (Alanine Transaminases) and AST (Aspartate Transaminase) are elevated . These two enzymes are assumed to be the main indicator of liver damage.

As we all know, the liver is the laboratory of the body. There the amino acids are synthesized and decomposed. This allows the energy to be stored. If there is damage to the liver, the membrane of your cells, the hepatocytes, becomes more permeable.

Under these conditions, hepatocytes allow transaminases to leak into the serum, which is the non-cellular part of the blood. Therefore, a high value of these liver enzymes is a direct signal that there is a problem in the liver.

High transaminases: what they indicate, causes and treatment

Causes of transaminase elevation

There are many factors that can lead to having high transaminases. Even, sometimes, a simple flu process causes the values ​​of these enzymes to rise, temporarily. All this must be valued in detail by the doctor. The main causes for which the value of transaminases is elevated are the following:

  • Hepatitis B or C Caused by a virus. Typically, these forms of hepatitis become chronic.
  • Hepatic steatosis . It is what is commonly known as “fatty liver”. It means that there is a large accumulation of triglycerides in the liver.
  • Infectious mononucleosis It is a disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), of the herpes-viridae family.
  • Hemochromatosis It is the excessive accumulation of iron in the body.
  • Medications with toxic effects.
  • Other factors Mainly, cytomegalovirus, Wilson’s disease, gallstones, myocardial infarction, hemolytic anemia, pancreatic diseases and systemic diseases.
High transaminases: what they indicate, causes and treatment


High transaminases are due to a triggering disease or an external factor, associated with lifestyle. In the first case, the adequate treatment of the disease must be achieved by lowering the level of transaminases. In case the elevation in transaminase levels is due to lifestyle, measures should be taken in this regard. The most advisable is to follow these guidelines :

  • Balance diet. Mainly avoid processed or fatty foods.
  • Avoid excess sugar and salt in food.
  • Stay well hydrated to help the liver eliminate fats. Drink water constantly.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
  • Increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits.
  • Steam food, grilled, boiled or baked.
  • Perform moderate exercise regularly.

If the inflammation of the liver is caused by some medication, the doctor must replace it with another that does not generate that side effect. Obesity should be avoided at all costs .

High transaminases: what they indicate, causes and treatment