GGT -Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase Liver Enzyme
The GGT bood test looks for an enzyme, or protein, called gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) in your blood. GGT is found in liver cells. This test helps your doctor look for possible damage to your liver or its ducts. It can also help tell the difference between liver and bone disease if your results from a different blood test called alkaline phosphatase are abnormal. Higher than normal test results could be a sign of liver damage from diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, tumors, or pancreatic cancer. But a higher than normal GGT level does not tell you the specific cause of liver disease or damage.
GGT Test - What Is Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase and Why You Should Test for It
Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is a complex molecule mainly found in your liver. It's a transport molecule, meaning that it helps move other substances throughout your bloodstream. A GGT test is performed to find the levels of this molecule in your body.
A gamma glutamyl transpeptidase test is usually part of a hepatic function panel. You should do the GGT test to see if your liver shows signs of damage of any kind. The liver is one of the most important organs in your body and serious damages to the liver can result in life-threatening complications.
Keep reading to learn more about GGT, how to test for it, and what might cause it to be too high.
GGT Test - How Does Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase Work?
As mentioned earlier, GGT is concentrated in the liver, but other organs have it as well such as the pancreas and spleen. One of the main liver's jobs is to eliminate toxins and foreign substances from your body. GGT is often used in this case as it acts as a transporter molecule to flush unwanted elements out.
When GGT levels are high, it means that your liver is struggling to eliminate a lot of toxins at once. This might also be a sign of liver damage usually caused by serious conditions such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and so on.
What Are the Normal Ranges of GGT for Adults?
The normal GGT levels in the body differ depending on your age, sex, and other important factors. However, it is commonly accepted that normal GGT levels are somewhere between 9 and 48 units per liter of blood. If you have more than 48 units, chances are that your liver might be damaged.
You can test your GGT levels by ordering a blood test. A blood sample is collected from your body and analyzed in a laboratory. You can order this test as a direct-to-consumer lab and get the results emailed to you in just a few business days.
What Are the Symptoms of Liver Problems?
Some people say that they don't need to order a hepatic function panel to test their liver because they don't have any symptoms. This is not a good judgment. The liver is one of the most important organs in the body and it usually doesn't show signs of damage until it's probably too late.
That's because there are little to no nerve endings throughout the liver, so there's no way you could feel pain signals. Your liver might be seriously damaged and you might not even know it. With that being said, sometimes it's possible to feel discreet symptoms such as the following ones:
- Chronic vomiting and nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dark urine and pale-colored stool
- Itchy skin
- Fatigue and confusion
- A tendency to bruise easily
- Jaundice - characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes
For most people, feeling a lack of energy and excessive fatigue, even after a good night's sleep, are the most common symptoms. If you see a yellowing of the skin and eyes, this is a sign that your liver is seriously damaged and you need medical attention immediately.
What Are the Causes of High GGT?
The GGT enzyme doesn't go up on its own. Remember that it plays a vital role in helping your liver detoxify your body. If there's too much GGT in your bloodstream then it means that the detox process is in full effect and your liver might be struggling with a lot of toxins or drugs at once.
Here are some of the main causes why your GGT levels might be high:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Overuse of various drugs
- Heart failure or other cardiovascular complications
- Fatty liver disease
- Hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver tumor, or liver cancer
- Lack of blood flow to the liver
As you can see, most of these conditions are related to the liver, so having high GGT levels means that there's something wrong with this vital organ. Luckily, the liver also has amazing regenerative powers, you just have to determine if it's damaged using a GGT test and follow the right treatment.
Study Reveals That Lifting Weights Might Increase Liver Enzymes
GGT is not the only liver enzyme usually checked by doctors. Other enzymes such as lactate dehydrogenase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase are also checked, among other substances.
In most cases, if your GGT is high, your doctor might request additional liver tests to determine the exact problem of this organ. However, in some cases, your liver enzymes might be elevated because you work out on a regular basis.
A study done in Sweden in 2008 proves this theory. 15 healthy men were tested before lifting weights and 7 days after exercise. The study patients were subjected to an hour-long weightlifting program.
It has been discovered that most liver enzymes were elevated for the study patients after performing resistance exercises. Moreover, the levels of these enzymes remained elevated 7 days after exercise. As you can probably imagine, doing a hepatic function panel now might return inaccurate results.
This study emphasizes the importance of imposing weightlifting restrictions before doing a liver test panel or a GGT test. Subjects might be asked to discontinue resistance exercises for at least one week before having their blood sampled for analysis.
This is particularly important for men on TRT. Males who follow a testosterone replacement therapy protocol usually work out regularly. This means that their liver enzymes might be increased because of resistance exercises, not because their liver is damaged.
TRT doctors should also be aware of this to prevent coming up with inaccurate diagnoses and treatment options. TRT alone might not lead to elevated liver enzymes, but a rigorous weight-lifting program might be the culprit for this enzyme spike.
Order Your GGT Test Today!
As mentioned earlier, you can easily find if your GGT levels are high by ordering a hepatic function panel or GGT test. You can do that by visiting DiscountedLabs.com and adding the gamma glutamyl transpeptidase test to your cart. DiscountedLabs sells some of the most affordable blood tests online!
Click here for more details on the hepatic function panel article.
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