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High transaminases: causes

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The transaminase , also known as aminotransferases , are a group of enzymes responsible for the transfer of amino acids. Alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) are the main ones in this group, the same generally present at low levels in the body, but can sometimes increase, signaling a possible liver problem.

Among the various functions of the liver is the breakdown of amino acids, however when this organ does not function properly, its cell membrane becomes more permeable, allowing the passage of transaminases into the bloodstream, which causes high levels to appear in the liver. analysis. But this condition can also occur due to other pathologies not related to the liver, which is why it is essential to visit a doctor if its levels appear high.

Do you want to know the main reasons for this condition? In this FastlyHealarticle we explain the causes of high transaminases .

Normal transaminase values

The normal values ​​of transaminases can vary from one laboratory to another, however as a reference we can take the following:

Alanino transaminasa (ALT)

  • Women: between 7 and 35 IU / L
  • Men: between 10 and 40 IU / L

Transaminase Aspartate (AST)

  • Women: between 6 and 34 IU / L
  • Men: between 8 and 40 IU / L

Liver problems that raise transaminases

High transaminases usually indicate the presence of various pathologies in the liver, to determine exactly what it is, a complete medical review is essential .

The liver conditions that commonly cause this elevation are:

Fatty liver

This condition occurs when fat accumulates in this organ excessively, affecting its functioning and health. Fatty liver commonly occurs due to a diet in which excess fat is consumed, excessive alcohol intake , lack of exercise or obesity, although some patients may have a genetic propensity for this condition.

Changing habits and modifying diet is essential, because if not treated properly, this condition can lead to liver cirrhosis .

Ingestion of substances that poison the liver

This is a possible cause of high transaminases, especially in patients who consume high doses of medication on a daily basis. It can also occur in those who self-medicate irresponsibly and in those who are dependent on drugs or narcotics.


It occurs when the liver becomes inflamed. This condition can be caused by viral infections such as hepatitis A, B or C , by toxic substances that damage this organ, by overdose of drugs and also due to an autoimmune response of the body that ends up attacking liver cells .

Hepatic ischemia

This condition manifests itself when blood flow or oxygen does not reach the liver adequately. Hepatic ischemia usually occurs in patients with heart rhythm problems, heart failure, dehydration, heavy bleeding, or some types of infections.


It is the scarring of the liver tissue, a chronic condition of great seriousness that is commonly manifested in alcoholics and in those who suffer from hepatitis B and C. It also usually occurs in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Tumors or cancer in the liver

Another possible cause of high transaminases is the presence of liver tumors or cancer. This condition must be diagnosed by a specialist after a thorough review.

Other causes of high transaminases

In addition to liver diseases, other diseases can also cause an elevation in transaminases, some of them are:


Mononucleosis is a viral infection that causes swollen lymph nodes, causing symptoms such as fever, sore throat, fatigue, swollen tonsils, and muscle pain. Medical attention is required for its diagnosis and treatment.

Inflammation of the pancreas

Also known as pancreatitis, it occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed due to obstruction of the bile ducts. This condition occurs commonly in people who have gallstones or who consume alcohol excessively, although it can also manifest itself in patients with autoimmune problems, thyroid conditions, excess calcium, among other causes.


It is about the accumulation of iron in the body. This condition can occur due to a genetic disorder transmitted from parents to children, which is known as primary hemochromatosis, or due to disorders related to blood, excessive transfusions or problems with alcohol, a condition known as secondary hemochromatosis.

In any case, to determine the causes of high transaminases, it will be necessary to visit our family doctor or a hematologist who can perform a review and refer us to the specialist that he considers prudent.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to High transaminases: causes , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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