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Phil
Phil, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
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Experience:  Specialize in internal medicine and pediatrics, also have a PhD in pharmacology
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The ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) level in my blood test ...

Resolved Question:

The ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) level in my blood test was low (14).
Is this a condition that can cause damage to my liver? What is the treatment? I was exposed to Toxic Molds, Stachybotrys, Chaetomium, Aflatoxins and Satratoxins from inhalation of these Molds.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Phil replied 8 years ago.
Hello!

Well, the short answer is, NO, having a low ALT poses no risk to you whatsoever, in either the short or long term.

The longer answer is, first, wow, that's quite an exposure history you have.

Let me explain a bit about how we use the ALT (and its companion test, the AST) when we check for these enzymes in the blood. These are enzymes that normally exist in the liver, and shouldn't even be in the blood stream to a great extent at all. They can be found in the blood stream in part because there are always cells dying and regenerating in the body, and your body is always dealing with toxins to a certain extent, and so there's a normal, acceptable level for these enzymes in the blood. When the level of the enzyme becomes elevated, we use that as a marker for your liver having been damaged. If, for instance, you ingested an overdose of tylenol, this would cause damage to your liver. The way we would measure that damage is by measuring the levels of ALT and AST. These enzymes themselves ARE NOT harmful in the bloodstream, but their mere PRESENCE means that the liver has been damaged, and is therefore leaking those enzymes out into the blood, because many cells in the liver have died.

Is the opposite true, that having a LOW ALT means that your liver is extra strong? Not really, but it certainly means you haven't sustained any damage to your liver. Again, these enzymes are just markers for damage; they don't cause any damage themselves.

Also, remember that the ranges of normal for any blood test are set by looking at populations of people and where the majority of people's levels are. But there are certainly NORMAL HEALTHY people running around who have lower levels of ALT in their blood, and those who are running around with higher levels. However, if you came to me, and your ALT was 140, instead of 14, I would certainly make sure there wasn't another reason that your level was elevated, like infection or liver disease or medication use of some sort before I would write it off as simply a "normal variant."


I hope all this makes sense. If it doesn't, write back, and I'll be happy to clarify! If it does, and you're satisfied, please accept my answer, and leave me some feedback! Thanks.
Phil, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 76
Experience: Specialize in internal medicine and pediatrics, also have a PhD in pharmacology
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