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What are elevated liver enzymes?

The liver is a large reddish-brown organ that you normally cannot feel because it is protected by the ribs. It has two sections, called the right and left lobes, and together with other organs like the pancreas, gall bladder, and intestines, helps your body use the food you eat, and take out things that can hurt you. It also helps you metabolize drugs.1

Because the liver is essential to digest food and rid the body of toxins, damage to the liver can ultimately lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition. A reliable blood screening looks for elevated levels of two liver enzymes: alanine aminotranferease (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). These enzymes, produced by the liver, spill into circulating blood when liver cells are injured, and can be an early warning of liver disease.

Liver damage has many potential causes: hepatitis, alcohol consumption, cancer, diabetes, obesity, or statin-lowering medications.

1Liver Diseases:What You Should Know, WebMD,