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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Enzymes

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Elevated Liver Enzymes [posted 1/8/99]
Question: My husband is 36. He donates blood from time to time and was told that his ALT level(liver enzymes)was elevated. He does not drink or take any medication, but he did take Niacin for about a year to lower his cholesterol (230-270). I was wondering if Niacin is a contributing factor in elevating the ALT level.

Answer: Could be. Stop them and see, but, there are numerous possible causes.

Low Liver Enzymes [posted 7/31/98]
Question: Six years ago I was diagnosed with high liver enzymes due to a fatty liver. In 1997 I was diagnosed with Diabetes (Insulin Resistance) and was put on Glucophage 6 months ago. I take 500 mg per day. Recently I had SGOT and SGPT levels done. The SGOT was 14 and the SGPT was 7. Could this medicine be causing these to be lower than normal? I only had elevated enzymes once, and since then they have been in the 20's. Now, since the glucophage, they are lower. Do you know of a reason why? Could the glucophage be clearing the fat away from my liver, which in turn is lowering the enzymes? Should I worry about these numbers being so low, or is it the lower the number the better?

Answer: Elevated liver enzymes are often the precursor to diabetes mellitus. Losing weight and being glucose control will normalize the enzymes in about 20-30% of patients. You are one of the lucky ones. It does not appear to change the "fat", but changes insulin and the way your body processes fat deposition.

Elevated Enzymes
Question: What over the counter drugs will elevate lipase and amylase levels? Can they be elevated deliberately either from food or drugs? Can you raise enzyme levels at will? I take Tylenol, Robitussin DM, Vivarin and I also drink lots of grapefruit juice in one day, but I also eat lots of fatty foods as well. I also had 1/2 of my pancreas removed 4 years ago along with my gallbladder and the entire spleen as well. Please advise on this situation. I am also a former narcotic user, having taken Percocet, Tylenol with Codeine, etc. I also use Benadryl.

Answer: I doubt that it is the medications. It’s probably the previous surgery or the condition that caused the surgery in the first place.

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