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Understanding and Taking Care of Your Liver
What Your Liver Does
Your liver performs a number of important functions. It stores vitamins, sugars, fats, and other nutrients derived from the food you eat. It creates chemicals your body needs to stay healthy and regulates body chemical levels. And, it breaks down and eliminates toxins (including alcohol) from your body and removes waste products from your blood.
Liver Enzymes and Your Health
When assessing liver health, doctors typically look at the blood levels of certain substances including bilirubin and liver enzymes. Higher than normal levels of these chemicals may be a sign of liver disease.
Laboratory reports indicating elevated liver enzyme levels are common. Elevated enzyme levels do not indicate a specific disease, but may be caused by a liver disorder. Common causes of elevated liver enzyme levels include:
A recent study reported that increases in ALT (an enzyme found in the blood which originates predominantly from liver cells) were observed in subjects taking the maximum daily dose of acetaminophen (4 grams).
Elevated liver enzyme levels sometimes may be&-but are not always—a sign of poor liver health.
If you are under a doctor's care for any serious condition, or are taking any other drugs, you should talk to your doctor.