Can Stress Cause Elevated Liver Enzymes | 5 Important Points

1. Introduction

Stress, in general, and liver enzymes specifically, have been linked to the immune system’s performance. In one experiment, mice with elevated levels of stress hormones (i.e., cortisol) were found to have elevated levels of liver enzymes. These animals were also significantly more likely to die from heart attacks and strokes than their non-stressed counterparts.

Another study demonstrated that stress could directly suppress the production of glutathione — an essential antioxidant that helps keep the body’s cells from being damaged by free radicals. These antioxidants are produced in the liver; therefore, if too much is made, it could lead to damage and toxicity.
The bottom line: Stress can elevate liver enzymes if prolonged for too long, but only if your stress level is high enough to begin with.

2. What are elevated liver enzymes?

Elevated liver enzymes result from stress, which is often caused by an increase in the body’s cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal cortex and secreted by the adrenal glands. It helps the body fight or protects itself from illness, injury, and infection. Elevated cortisol concentrations are also seen in people with liver disease who take antiretroviral drugs such as protease inhibitors (e.g., azidothymidine (AZT)).

Ironically, because elevated liver enzymes may indicate damage to the liver, high levels of other toxic substances that cause inflammation or chemical irritation can be considered less severe than elevated liver enzymes.

3. What is stress?

Stress is a common concern for most of us. Some people look at stress as the enemy, and it is something to be avoided at all costs, and others see stress as the source of their own problems.
Stress is a fact of life, one that must be managed if we want to be happy.

A quick way to manage stress is to view it as a cost or expense. You will take out a loan for this excess energy you have been storing for years. The figure of an annual interest rate on your loan can vary by 20%, but in the end, you will still pay back the money you borrowed. Your body pays the price for all your stress through elevated liver enzymes, known as ALT (alanine transaminase). This enzyme converts ALA (aluminum) into ammonia and ammonia into ammonia-glutamates which are then converted into uric acid and other byproducts.

Here’s how you can check your ALT levels:
1. Take some water and stir it till it forms lumps; then add sugar or milk in it; let it sit overnight, then filter to yield clear liquid; drink the solution before going to bed with food so that the next day, your levels should be lower than those obtained from fasting (2).

2. Use 1 gram of mannitol after breakfast for 3 hours twice daily before bed (3). Mannitol is readily available from health stores in about 10 grams each, so start adding this after breakfast when you know you need it most (4).
3. If you don’t have access to mannitol or mannitol isn’t available where you live, use glucose instead if drinking 1 gram at night (5). You may also use 2 grams of glucose in place of 1 gram per day if doing 3 hours twice daily while fasting overnight (6). Recheck your ALT level that day after having gone through these steps several times.

4. If you do not manage your stress well enough and suffer from hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or hyperlipidemia, getting control over how much extra weight you gain will help alleviate this problem, too (7). If any symptoms persist even after such measures are taken, consult your doctor immediately as they may prescribe medication to control them (8).

Can Stress Cause Elevated Liver Enzymes | 5 Important Points

4. How can stress cause elevated liver enzymes?

Is it stress that causes elevated liver enzymes? Or is it the other way around? The answer may depend on where we’re looking. If we look at the body, then yes, stress can. But how stress affects liver enzymes is another matter entirely. A current analysis by researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada, found that stressed individuals tend to have elevated levels of liver enzymes.

But what are those enzymes, and why do they matter? Liver enzymes are proteins produced in the liver and are responsible for metabolizing many different chemical compounds like drugs and alcohol. Ever wonder why your liver is sometimes more active than your heart? The liver needs to keep up with these substances’ chemical breakdown, so it doesn’t get overloaded.

So if you are stressed out, do you think your heart is more stressed out, so your liver has to work harder to keep up? Probably not. Maybe you’re just as stressed as everyone else, and your stress causes a spike in circulating levels of those enzyme molecules in your body — perhaps even more than usual. Maybe this increased activity in your muscles or blood vessels makes things worse for your liver, so you need to work harder to stop being stressed out.

The best way I can describe this research finding is that it shows that stress can cause elevated liver enzyme activity but doesn’t prove that stress makes people with elevated liver enzymes act more like their stress-prone counterparts. It might just be part of what makes them feel bad again when stressed out.

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5. Conclusion

Due to the high prevalence of stress in modern life, an elevated level of liver enzymes can result from it. An elevated liver enzyme level indicates that the body is overloaded with stress and various other factors. Since stress plays a significant role in all facets of life, elevating your liver enzyme levels may not be a bad idea. However, it is essential to note that stress does not necessarily have to be emotional. Researchers found that high psychological pressure is more prevalent than physical stress.

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