Ways to Lower Liver Enzymes

Updated on July 21, 2016
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Livingsta is a writer who writes about anything that fascinates, provokes or interests her by putting in her best of efforts and thoughts.

Liver Functions

The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. It is also the largest organ and is situated below the ribcage, above the abdomen. This organ uses thousands of enzymes to perform essential chemical processes.

The liver has many functions, including:

  • Remove toxins from our body and clean the blood.
  • Help with food digestion.
  • Produce enzymes including digestive liquid called bile.
  • Control the flow of urine.
  • Store important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
  • Help with blood clotting.

Location of the liver inside the body
Location of the liver inside the body | Source

In this article we will take a detailed look at liver enzymes, the causes and symptoms of the increased enzymes, ways to lower these levels, and ways to keep enzyme levels healthy.

Please note: This article is for general information only and should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical advice from your own doctor or other health care professionals. Always consult your GP or health professional if you are concerned about your health in any way. I wrote this and other articles about liver health after a friend experienced liver failure. I researched liver health and am now sharing some of what I found with you.

Liver Enzymes and Why They Increase

The most common enzymes produced by the liver are aspartate transaminase enzymes (AST) and alanine transaminase enzymes (ALT). These are known together as transaminases.

The liver also produces alkaline phosphatase (AP) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), which are known together as cholestatic liver enzymes.

When the liver is damaged, overworked, or diseased its walls become perforated. As a result of this, the enzymes escape the liver and enter the bloodstream. Therefore, if increased liver enzymes are detected in a blood test means that the liver is under some form of stress.

A high level of liver enzymes does not necessarily mean that the liver is producing excessive enzymes. It may be simply that the level of liver enzymes present in blood has increased. This does, however, indicate that the liver is under excessive strain. A doctor can determine the source of the problem. A doctor will consider the medicines the person takes, their symptoms, and other factors before making a diagnosis. It is good to sit with your doctor and understand why your liver enzymes have increased, as this will help you to understand how to care for your liver and avoid further damage.

Some Reasons Why Liver Enzymes Increase

  • Hepatitis A, B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Obesity (in some cases)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Medicines taken for pain relief
  • Medicines to control cholesterol levels
  • Cardiovascular drugs
  • Anti-seizure medicines

  • Fatty liver
  • Thyroid problems
  • Auto immune diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammation of the gall bladder
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Muscular disorders
  • High intake of salt and herbal supplements
  • Liver cancer

Symptoms of Liver Strain

The symptoms for increase in liver enzymes are not always obvious. They include:

  • Jaundice, including yellowing of eyes and skin.
  • Dark urine, high temperature, nausea, and weakness even after drinking lots of water.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Fatty liver.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Pain in the lower right side of the chest.
  • Brown patches on the skin.

Bringing Enzyme Levels Down

In order to bring dangerously high enzyme levels down, one must be really careful about what they eat and drink. Whatever we consume is digested or processed with the help of the liver. As a result of this, unhealthy and harmful food or drinks can be damaging to the liver.

One must also have a proper diagnosis and treatment from their doctor in order to lower the liver enzymes. Once a diagnosis is made, it is best to have liver function tests (LFT) done once every six months, or even more frequently, as advised by your doctor or health professional until the liver enzymes go back to a normal level.

There are various ways in which one can lower liver enzymes:

  • Milk thistle, a herb that protects liver cells, and dandelion help with detoxing the body and hence will help to improve the health of the liver. It is good to take these after consulting your dietician and doctor. Also get them from an approved and trustworthy health store.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, as these will help reduce the toxin levels in the liver.
  • Avoid any drugs or medicines that are not prescribed to you by your doctor.
  • Even ibuprofen and aspirin can be damaging to the liver, so it is best to consult your doctor regarding an alternative for pain relief.
  • Stop drinking alcohol completely for speedy recovery. Even after a complete cure, it is best not to consume alcohol at all. If you do, consume it rarely and in limited amounts as the level of enzymes can increase anytime again.

  • There are so many toxins in polluted air. For example cigarette smoke, paint fumes, burnt rubber and other chemicals. One needs to stay away from these toxins as they affect the liver.
  • With the help and advice of a dietician, nutritionist, or your doctor, try your best to take herbal remedies rather than other drugs to lower the level of liver enzymes.
  • Take Vitamin B12 and Coenzyme Q10 (with your doctor's approval), as they help with rebuilding the damaged cells in the liver.
  • It is good to be active, so that the body gets some mild exercise. Sometimes obesity is the cause of increase in level of liver enzymes. It is good to lose some weight gradually and not rapidly, for example, two pounds a week. Even a brisk walk or jogging for 30 minutes will help improve the blood circulation and bring new blood to the liver.
  • Avoid foods that contain fat.
  • Increase carbohydrate intake.
  • Eat vegetables that are rich in proteins.
  • Get enough sleep and rest, as this is very important for the damage to repair by regenerating new cells.

  • Never take medicine or herbs without your doctor's approval, as even some herbal remedies can be harmful to the liver.
  • It is good to sit with your dietician or nutritionist and ask them for a diet plan that you can follow and which will help improve the health and function of the liver.
  • Avoid caffeine or at least limit caffeine intake.
  • Drink water (at least eight glasses a day) as this helps with flushing the toxins out of the body.
  • Avoid salt intake, red meat, oil, and spices
  • Discuss with your doctor any other drugs you are using, for example, for lowering cholesterol or other drugs, and ask to see if you can stop them.

How Long Will it Take to Restore Enzyme Levels?

The time it takes for the liver enzyme level to get back to normal depends on each person and the severity of the condition of liver and health. It usually gets lowered in a few weeks (4 to 8) if the conditions are not too severe and if strict diet and medication are followed. In severe cases, it can take a few months before the enzyme level gets back to normal, as the damage will be high and will take time to repair.

If these enzyme conditions are left untreated, or treatment is delayed, it can lead to liver cancer and can be life-threatening.

Improving Your Liver's Health

In order to have a healthy liver:

  • Consume only healthy food and drinks. Try your best to eat organic food (food grown naturally without chemicals or pesticides) including fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.
  • Avoid artificial ingredients, fizzy drinks, and fruit juice cocktails which have a high level of fructose. Limit your sugar intake to 200 calories a day (sucrose and fructose are bad sugars).
  • Take fish oil and flax oil help to improve the liver function. These help lower the triglyceride levels (fat) in the liver. Take food rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Always cook your own food. Avoid ready-made, pre-cooked, and preserved food from the supermarkets or elsewhere, as chemicals are added. Since the liver plays a major role in digesting food, additives and chemicals put strain on the liver.
  • Do not use refined sugar as it contains 95% sucrose and offers no nutritional value.
  • Be sure you get your daily protein. Eat eggs, milk products, fish, meat (lean meats are good), and poultry as these can be processed by the liver easily.
  • Avoid alcohol by all means, and if you do take it rarely in limited amounts.
  • Do not take any drugs or over-the-counter medicines unless prescribed by your doctor or health professional. Combinations of certain drugs can harm the liver, and hence it is always best to consult your doctor (physician) or health professional before taking any.

Food Pyramid
Food Pyramid | Source
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke and any other smoke as they might contain toxins.
  • Be careful about skin care products, as these products are absorbed through the skin and processed by the liver. If there are any harmful chemicals, they will affect your liver's health. Use natural products when possible.
  • Exercise and get good rest. This keeps the body and liver healthy.
  • Do not eat fatty food or food that high in carbohydrates.
  • Eat required amount of fibrous food and cruciferous vegetables.
  • Drink green tea.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
  • Add these foods into your diet as often as possible as they help with cleansing the liver: garlic, grapefruit, carrots, beetroots, green leafy vegetables, avocados, apples, olive oils, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, lemons, walnuts, asparagus, kale, and brussels sprouts.

Eatwell plate
Eatwell plate | Source

I hope this article has been of some use to you. Please do not hesitate to leave your thoughts and feedback.

Thank you,

Livingsta

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    • profile image

      Carmelita Petierre 2 months ago

      Excellent article. Straight to the point. My problem is my cancer of the pancreas spread to my liver,left kidney & lungs.

      I had liver biopsy & my liver enzymes shoot up to 10x above normal.They hospital didn't give me anything to lower it. I'm just taking Usana liver health.Hope this will help.Thank you.

    • JaneanOverman profile image

      Janean Overman 4 months ago from Virginia

      Very detailed, organized, and useful hub. I am inspired by your article. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      JIllyb 9 months ago

      I do eat extremely healthy and am not overweight-in fact underweight. I was a severe alcoholic but stopped 15 months ago. I have exhausted detox centers. I do take psychiatric medications---but with most of these suggestions already undertaken what could be the culprit -after 15 months alcohol abuse still affecting or the psych meds?

    • profile image

      Juan 10 months ago

      My liver enzymes levels are kind of high. I was wondering if I can take fish oil supplements?

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 15 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Mary, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. I am sorry to say that I am not qualified to provide any medical advise and you will have to consult your physician in this regard as they will be aware of your medical condition and history. I am pleased that this article was helpful and I wish you a speedy recovery

    • profile image

      Mary 16 months ago

      My liver enzymes got little high this year and by my physician, this is caused by high cholesterol. So by the doctor, I am taking medicine to lower cholesterol in order to lower the liver enzymes. Besides, I am using turmeric, milk thistle, green tee, drink juice made from beets, green.....Am I on the right way? Thank you for the article and advises.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Ellie, good to hear that you stopped drinking. I wish you all the best and good health in 2016! :)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Beachrose58, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am so glad that this was of some help. I am hoping that your health is better now. All the best for 2016! :)

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 23 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Indanila, thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience. I am hoping that you are in good health now. All the best and have a great 2016! :)

    • profile image

      ellie 2 years ago

      I stopped drinking 5 weeks ago. I drank everyday i lost 18 lbs dieting exercising blood repeated on November 4

    • profile image

      beachrose58 2 years ago

      I loved this article, very useful information except for one thing. I'm facing a blood test in a few days. We know my liver enzymes have risen a bit, so I want to know how to lower my enzymes a bit before this test. Thanks so much!!

    • indanila profile image

      Inda Blackwell 2 years ago

      While I was pregnant, my liver enzymes were elevated. I ate tons of fruits and veggies and lots of lemon water to get them down. Great hub!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Syed :)

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Priya, I'm glad that you found this useful :)

    • profile image

      syed abdul razaq 3 years ago

      Thank you brother for writing this hub............

      i like you aritcle too much.............

    • profile image

      Very good information indeed 3 years ago

      Priya

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Rajan, thank you so much. Thank you for the vote and share.

      Hope you had a good day :-)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Glad to be reading it once again and share it as well, Dahlia.

      Voted up and useful.

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Valleypoet, thank you. I am pleased that you found this interesting and informative. Have a great week ahead :-)

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      Very interesting and informative...such a vital organ needs looking after for sure...thank you for sharing:-))

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi RTalloni, thank you. I am pleased that you found this information interesting. Have a good day!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting to learn about lowering liver enzymes. Thanks for outlining this information for us!

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Rajan, thank you for reading. While I wrote this series of hubs on liver transplant and other issues related to the liver, I completely understood how important it is to keep our liver healthy. I am glad that you found this hub interesting. Thank you for the votes and share. Have a great rest of the week.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very well written and a lot of useful info here, livingsta. It is very important we keep our liver in peak performance level.

      Voted up, useful and shared.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Cathy Fidelibus, thank you. I am glad that you found this useful. Have a good day!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      Excellent information and very comprehensive hub. Thanks!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Habee, thank you for reading. I am glad it is of some use to you. Wishing you good health. Thank you for the vote.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great tips! I have to watch my liver enzymes because of some meds I take. I'll use some of your suggestions for good liver health. Voted up!

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Gcrhoads64, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I am glad you have got rid of it now. It is nice to hear from someone who has experienced this. Thank you again. Have a good day!

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 4 years ago from North Dakota

      Excellent information!

      I had elevated liver enzymes caused by anti-cholesterol medications. I also had the brown patches on my skin, but didn't realize they were related to the elevated enzymes. Both symptoms are gone since I stopped taking the medication.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Careermommy, thank you for reading and the feedback. Sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. She needs to be careful with the alcohol as it can't be handled by the liver.

      Thank you so much for the votes and share. Have a great weekend :-)

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      livingsta, this is an excellent hub. I've known several people that have had liver damage. One of my sister's in-laws actually had severe liver damage due to alcoholism. This is a very educational piece, voted up and shared!

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Vinaya, thank you for reading. Sorry to hear about the problems with your liver. I hope you are in touch with your doctor and following the medications and above all following a healthy diet!

      I am glad you like this. Have a great weekend!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      As a child I had liver problems. I still have calcification in my right liver.

      Thanks for sharing this well researched hub.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Rasta1, thank you for reading. Yes indeed, excessive liver enzymes is dangerous. I am glad you found this useful. Have a good day!

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Excessive liver enzymes in the blood sounds like a serious condition. Thank you for giving a careful guide to recovery.

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi ImKarn23, thank you so so much. I am glad you found this useful. I hope your cousin feels better soon. And thank you so much for the share and vote too. Have a great day my friend!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      amazingly thorough and responsible sharing of information, my friend!

      very impressive and very impressed!

      i am forwarding this to my cousin, who has cancer in her liver...

      will also hub-share and vote..

      well done!

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi My cook book, thank you for reading, appreciating and your feedback. I am pleased you liked it. Thank you for the vote. Have a good day :-)

    • livingsta profile image
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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill, thank you for reading and the feedback. I am pleased it is useful. Have a good day my friend :-)

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Remarkable! I like this hub. It has excellent information covering all the useful points about the liver. Thanks for sharing, i voted it UP!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very useful information my young friend. Nice job of research and presentation.

    • livingsta profile image
      Author

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Mr-Veg, thank you for reading and sharing your experience. I can imagine what that experience could have been for you. I am glad you are well now. Thank you for your appreciation. Have a great rest of the week :-)

    • mr-veg profile image

      mr-veg 4 years ago from Colorado United States

      I have gone through this phase in the past, so I know what you are talking about here and Indeed this is a very good article to read and know more about healthy living... thanks for sharing