- Foods That Lower Alkaline Phosphatase
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level test: High and low levels
- Alkaline Phosphatase: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
- High Alkaline Phosphatase Symptoms & How to Reduce It
- What Does High Alkaline Phosphatase Mean?
- Symptoms of High Alkaline Phosphatase
- Causes of High Alkaline Phosphatase
- 1) Birth control pills
- 2) Exercise
- 3) Thyroid Hormones
- 4-5) Efavirenz andCissus quadrangularis
- 6) Estrogen and Testosterone Metabolites
- 7) Biliary Obstruction and Liver Cancer
- 8) Colon Cancer
- 9) Breast Cancer
- 10) Leukemia
- 11) Alzheimer’s
- 12) Paget’s Disease
- 13) Vitamin D Deficiency
- 14) Heart Disease
- 15) Liver Problems Associated with Celiac Disease
- 16) Sickle Cell Anemia
- 17) Epilepsy
- 18) Genetic Factors
- How to Reduce Alkaline Phosphatase
- 1) Support Your Liver
- 2) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- 3) Stop Smoking
- 4) Coffee
- 5) Cinacalcet
- 6) Resistance Exercise
- 7) Sun Exposure/Vitamin D
- Learn More
- Alkaline Phosphatase Level Test (ALP)
- What is alkaline phosphatase?
- Liver and gallbladder
- High levels
- Low levels
- What Is an Alkaline Phosphatase Test?
Foods That Lower Alkaline Phosphatase
“Alkaline, what?” may be your first reaction when your doctor tells you that your alkaline phosphatase levels are elevated. Your next question may be, “Is there medicine to reduce alkaline phosphatase?”
Yogurt is a great food that can help lower alkaline phosphatase. Credit: istetiana/Moment/GettyImages
Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found throughout your body. The exact role the enzyme plays isn't fully understood, but abnormalities in your levels may be a sign of an underlying health issue.
While a quick search of the internet may turn up a home remedy to lower alkaline phosphatase, there's no diet or treatment specific for lowering your alkaline phosphatase. If you have concerns about your alkaline phosphatase levels, your doctor is your best resource for what your levels mean and what you need to do about it.
There are millions of natural chemicals and substances inside you that all play a role in keeping your body in good working order. Enzymes are chemicals that serve as catalysts that trigger or speed up reactions in your body. The suffix “-ase” is used to identify enzymes, which includes the enzyme called alkaline phosphatase.
According to an August 2012 case report published in BMJ Case Report, alkaline phosphatase is responsible for helping to hydrolyze, or break apart, phosphate monoesters, which chemically is an organic phosphate that is comprised of a phosphoric acid and an organyl group.
Casting the chemistry lesson aside, alkaline phosphate helps free up phosphate, which is a mineral your body uses to repair your bones and teeth, as well as contract your muscles and regulate your heartbeat.
However, this enzyme may have more roles than that, according to a December 2017 study of 87 people published in Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science.
The authors of this study state that the role of alkaline phosphatase in the body isn't fully understood, and that the enzyme may also assist in the calcification process of your bones, as well as transport fats in your digestive system.
Most of the alkaline phosphatase in your body is found in various organs, including your kidneys, liver, bones, and digestive system. Your blood also contains a certain amount of alkaline phosphatase, which is believed to primarily come from your liver and bones, according to the study from Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science.
While you may ask your doctor to check your blood sugar or cholesterol during your annual exam, you're probably not going to request an alkaline phosphatase test. While it may be part of your annual blood work, physicians most often request an alkaline phosphatase test if they have concerns about liver or bone health.
Generally, there's nothing special you need to do to prepare for your alkaline phosphatase test.
However, if your doctor is requesting a repeat test due to abnormalities in the first test, then you may be asked to fast for 10 hours prior to the test, according to the University of Michigan.
Certain medication may also alter the results of your test, so your medication schedule may need to be modified too.
According to the University of Michigan, a normal alkaline phosphatase falls between 25 to 100 units per liter or 0.43 to 1.70 microkatals per liter. However, these numbers are just a general range and your lab may use a different reference.
If your alkaline phosphatase levels are high, it may indicate that there's something wrong with your liver or bones. Common conditions associated with an elevated alkaline phosphatase include:
- Hepatitis (inflammation in the liver)
- Cirrhosis (scarring in the liver)
- Bile duct blockage
- Paget's bone disease (causes bones to be weak and brittle)
- Bone tumor
An elevation in the enzyme may also indicate mononucleosis, Hodgkin's lymphoma, heart failure, or a serious infection.
If your alkaline phosphatase is low, it may mean you have a very rare genetic disorder called hypophosphatasia, which disrupts the mineralization of your bones and teeth. However, according to MedlinePlus, low alkaline phosphatase may also mean you're zinc deficient or suffering from malnutrition.
There's no special diet for high alkaline phosphatase and no food or group of foods that can help lower your levels. Treatment for your high alkaline phosphatase centers around what's causing the elevation in the first place. That being said, some of the underlying conditions that cause high alkaline phosphatase may require modifications to your diet.
Your liver is responsible for performing many vital function, from removing waste and toxic substances from your blood to making protein and cholesterol.
If you have hepatitis or cirrhosis, these functions may be compromised, and your doctor may suggest you follow a special diet that's rich in carbohydrates and low in fat with a controlled amount of protein.
You may also be advised to minimize your salt intake and add a multivitamin to your daily regimen.
Because a diet for liver disease requires the right balance of macronutrients to maintain your health and the health of your liver, you should consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian for an individualized diet plan.
There's no special diet for the treatment of Paget's disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. But you're encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes good food sources of calcium and vitamin D, which is the same as the recommendation for rickets.
If you're unable to get enough of the bone-building nutrients from your diet, you may be advised to add supplements.
While there may not be a specific diet for high alkaline phosphatase, you should worry about a low alkaline phosphatase and the role your diet may play in your numbers. As noted, if your blood results indicate a low alkaline phosphatase, it may be linked to a nutrient-poor diet.
In addition to a zinc deficiency, not getting enough magnesium may also affect your alkaline phosphatase levels, according to the authors of the study in Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science.
Zinc is needed for the proper functioning of many enzymatic reactions in your body. It also helps support immune health, make protein and DNA and heal wounds.
- Red meat
- Pumpkin seeds
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Baked beans
zinc, magnesium is also needed for the proper functioning of many enzymes in your body. The mineral is also essential for bone health and helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar.
Good food sources of magnesium include:
- Peanut butter
While poor intakes of these minerals have been associated with low alkaline phosphatase, it's also noted that malnutrition may affect your levels, too. If you're having a difficult time eating a healthy balanced diet, talk to your doctor or consult with a registered dietitian.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level test: High and low levels
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme in a person’s blood that helps break down proteins. The body uses ALP for a wide range of processes, and it plays a particularly important role in liver function and bone development. Using an ALP test, it is possible to measure how much of this enzyme is circulating in a person’s blood.
Slightly irregular ALP levels are usually no cause for concern. However, severely abnormal levels can signify a severe underlying medical condition, typically one relating to the liver, bones, or gallbladder.
In this article, we look at the ALP test in more detail and explain what it involves, how to prepare for it, and what the results may mean.
An ALP test is a simple procedure that measures the amount of ALP in the blood. ALP is an enzyme that is present in most parts of the body but is most abundant in the bones, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and intestines.
Researchers still do not understand the full range of ALP’s functions, but it seems to contribute to a wide range of processes, such as:
- transporting nutrients and other enzymes in the liver
- aiding the formation and growth of bones
- transporting fatty acids, phosphates, and calcium in the intestines
- digesting fat in the intestines
- regulating cell growth, death, and migration during fetal development
Doctors will often request that a routine blood test includes an ALP test if a person has symptoms that may indicate liver problems. These include:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- painful or swollen tummy
- feeling nauseous
- feeling tired or weak
- unexplained weight loss
- urine that is darker than usual
They will also specifically order an ALP test if they think a person has a condition affecting any of the following:
The ALP level in healthy adults should be 20–140 units per liter (U/L).
Children tend to have significantly higher levels of ALP than adults because their bones are still growing. A person recovering from a bone injury may also have a raised ALP level in the 3 months after the injury while their bone heals.
It is also common to have higher ALP levels than usual during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
However, everyone’s natural ALP level will be a bit different. After an ALP test, a doctor will be able to explain what it means if the ALP level is higher or lower than they would expect.
As ALP is most abundant in the bones and liver, elevated ALP levels are generally a sign of a liver or bone condition. An obstruction of the liver or damage to it will cause ALP levels to rise. This will also occur if there is an increase in bone cell activity.
Abnormal ALP levels usually indicate one of the following conditions:
Conditions that abnormal ALP levels may indicate less regularly include:
- rickets — a weakening of the bones in children, usually as a result of a vitamin D or calcium deficiency
- osteomalacia — a weakening of the bones in adults, usually relating to a vitamin deficiency
- Paget’s disease — a condition that causes significant bone deformity and problems with bone regeneration
Unusual ALP levels may also signify one of the following conditions, although this is rare:
Someone having an ALP test will usually need to fast for 10–12 hours before the test. As such, most people prefer to have their test first thing in the morning. Most local clinics and doctor’s offices can carry out these tests.
Several medications, such as birth control pills and anti-epileptic drugs, can interfere with ALP levels. Therefore, anyone having the test should tell the doctor about any medications and herbal supplements they are taking.
An ALP test only requires a blood sample.
A phlebotomist or nurse will tie a strap around the person’s upper arm to expose the veins in the inner elbow. Once they find a suitable vein, the nurse will swab the area with alcohol then insert a small needle into the vein.
They will then attach a plastic tube to the end of the needle and draw some blood. Once there is enough blood in the collection tube, the nurse will gently remove the needle and cover the area with a small bandage or dressing.
If the person needs other blood tests at the same time, the nurse may have to fill multiple collection tubes.
ALP tests have few complications, aside from some minor bleeding or bruising at the needle insertion site. Most people do not feel any pain or discomfort during or after the test, other than a slight prick when the needle enters the arm.
Occasionally drawing blood can lead to inflammation around the vein or tissues in the inner elbow. Applying a warm compress and gentle pressure to the site for 20–30 minutes can help to relieve this. If the inflammation remains for more than a few hours after the blood test or gets worse, it is best to seek medical attention.
Most people with abnormal ALP levels have high, rather than low, levels. The most common causes of high ALP levels include:
- liver conditions, often bile duct obstructions
- gallbladder conditions, usually gallstones
- bone conditions, such as abnormal growths and occasionally cancers
- young age, as children who are still growing tend to have much higher ALP levels
If related symptoms do not help the doctor reach a diagnosis, they may carry out further tests. These may include tests to determine which type of ALP enzyme is raised in the blood. Each part of the body makes a distinct type of ALP enzyme.
Further tests may also include the following liver tests:
- bilirubin test
- aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test
- alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test
If a person has raised ALP levels but the results of other liver tests are normal, the problem may not be with their liver. It may be that their bones are affected. The doctor may use imaging tests to diagnose bone disorders.
Rarely, high ALP levels may indicate:
- bacterial infection
- heart failure
- kidney failure
It is relatively rare for a person to have low ALP levels. These are most often the result of:
- severe or long-term vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- chronic conditions that can cause malnutrition, such as untreated celiac disease
Share on PinterestA malnourished person with low ALP levels should eat whole fruits and vegetables.
The treatment for abnormal ALP levels depends entirely on the cause of the condition.
Slightly abnormal ALP levels are generally no cause for concern as ALP levels naturally fluctuate during the day and vary from person to person.
People with malnutrition should adjust their diet accordingly or take supplements. They should take care to include the following foods in their diet:
- whole fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, berries, and dark, leafy greens
- whole-grain cereals, bread, rice, and pasta
- red meats and fatty fish
- probiotic food products, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
For infections, a doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics or other antimicrobial medications.
People with significant liver, gallbladder, or bone obstructions may need to undergo surgery or laser-therapy sessions or take medications that break down the obstructions.
For chronic conditions that cause bone malformations or density issues, a person may need to have an X-ray.
People with cancer may need to undergo a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Alkaline Phosphatase: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/alkaline-phosphatase/
An alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test measures the amount of ALP in your blood.
ALP is an enzyme found throughout the body, but it is mostly found in the liver, bones, kidneys, and digestive system. When the liver is damaged, ALP may leak into the bloodstream.
High levels of ALP can indicate liver disease or bone disorders.
Other names: ALP, ALK, PHOS, Alkp, ALK PHOS
An alkaline phosphatase test is used to detect diseases of the liver or bones.
Your health care provider may have ordered an alkaline phosphatase test as part of a routine checkup or if you have symptoms of liver damage or a bone disorder. Symptoms of liver disease include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and eyes to turn yellow
- Swelling and/or pain in your abdomen
- Dark-colored urine and/or light-colored stool
- Frequent Itching
Symptoms of bone disorders include:
- Pain in the bones and/or joints
- Enlarged and/or abnormally shaped bones
- Increased frequency of bone fractures
An alkaline phosphatase test is a type of blood test. During the test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
You don't need any special preparations for an alkaline phosphatase test. If your health care provider has ordered other blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
High alkaline phosphatase levels may mean there is damage to your liver or that you have a type of bone disorder. Liver damage creates a different type of ALP than bone disorders do.
If the test results show high alkaline phosphatase levels, your health care provider may order additional tests to find out where the extra ALP is coming from.
High alkaline phosphatase levels in the liver can indicate:
There are several other types of blood tests that check your liver function. These include bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) tests.
If these results are normal and your alkaline phosphatase levels are high, it may mean the problem is not in your liver.
Instead, it can indicate a bone disorder, such as Paget's Disease of Bone, a condition that causes your bones to become abnormally large, weak, and prone to fractures.
Moderately high levels of alkaline phosphatase may indicate conditions such as Hodgkin lymphoma, heart failure, or a bacterial infection.
Low levels of alkaline phosphatase may indicate hypophosphatasia, a rare genetic disease that affects bones and teeth. Low levels may also be due to a deficiency of zinc or malnutrition. To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.
ALP levels can vary for different groups. Pregnancy can cause higher than normal ALP levels. Children and teens may have high levels of ALP because their bones are growing. Certain drugs, such as birth control pills, may lower ALP levels, while other medicines can cause the levels to increase.
- American Liver Foundation. [Internet]. New York: American Liver Foundation; c2017. Liver Function Tests; [updated 2016 Jan 25; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/liverfunctiontests/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Epstein-Barr Virus and Infectious Mononucleosis; [updated 2016 Sep 14; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/about-mono.html
- Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Alkaline Phosphate; p. 35–6.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. The Johns Hopkins University; Paget Disease of the Bone; [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/orthopaedic_disorders/paget_disease_of_the_bone_85,P00128/
- Josse RG, Hanley DA, Kendler D, Ste Marie LG, Adachi, JD, Brown J. Diagnosis and treatment of Paget disease of bone. Clin Invest Med [Internet] 2007 [cited 2017 Mar 13]; 30(5):E210–23. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17892763/–weakened%20deformed%20bones
- Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. ALP: The Test; [updated 2016 Oct 5; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/alp/tab/test
- Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. ALP: The Test Sample; [updated 2016 Oct 5; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/alp/tab/sample/
- Merck Manual Professional Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2017. Laboratory Tests of the Liver and Gall Bladder; [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/testing-for-hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/laboratory-tests-of-the-liver-and-gallbladder
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What Are the Risks of Blood Tests?; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 6 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests#Risk-Factors
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What To Expect with Blood Tests; [updated 2012 Jan 6; cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
- NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; hypophosphatasia; 2017 Mar 7 [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/hypophosphatasia
- NIH National Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Questions and Answers about Paget's Disease of Bone; 2014 Jun [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Pagets/qa_pagets.asp
- NIH National Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What Is Paget's Disease of Bone? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public; 2014 Nov [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Pagets/pagets_disease_ff.asp
- University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Alkaline Phosphate; [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid;=alkaline_phosphatase
High Alkaline Phosphatase Symptoms & How to Reduce It
Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in all tissues in the human body. In balance, it protects your gut against harmful bacteria and aids digestion. However, high blood levels usually point to liver or bone problems. Read on to understand the symptoms and causes of high alkaline phosphatase and how to reduce it naturally.
What Does High Alkaline Phosphatase Mean?
The normal range of alkaline phosphatase in the blood is 20 to 140U/L, although this can vary from lab to lab. Children and pregnant women can have significantly higher levels of the enzyme in their blood .
Values above 130 U/L are usually considered to be high.
Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in all tissues in the human body but is mostly concentrated in the bones, kidneys, liver, intestines, and placenta. It exists in different forms, depending on where it originates .
Its major function is to protect your intestinal tract against bacteria, aid in digestion, breakdown fats and some B vitamins, and promote bone formation .
High levels of ALP in the blood may indicate bone, liver, or bile duct disease.
ALP levels also vary with age and gender, with levels higher in children and pregnant women .
Higher ALP levels can occur in people with blood group B or blood group O .
In balance, ALP supports good health. In excess or deficiency, this enzyme can lead to a broad range of diseases .
When the liver is not functioning properly, ALP is released into the bloodstream. Additionally, any condition that affects bone growth or causes the increased activity of bone cells can increase ALP levels in the blood. For this reason, an ALP level test is commonly used to help diagnose liver/gallbladder disorders and bone disorders .
Note: Lab results are commonly shown as a set of values known as a “reference range”, which is sometimes referred to as a “normal range”. A reference range includes the upper and lower limits of a lab test a group of otherwise healthy people.
Your healthcare provider will compare your lab test results with reference values to see if your chloride results fall outside the range of expected values. By doing so, you and your healthcare provider can gain clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases.
Remember that some lab-to-lab variability occurs due to differences in equipment, techniques, and chemicals used. Don’t panic if your result is slightly range – as long as it’s in the normal range the laboratory that did the testing, your value is normal.
However, it’s important to remember that a normal test doesn’t mean a particular medical condition is absent. Your doctor will interpret your results in conjunction with your medical history and other test results.
And remember that a single test isn’t enough to make a diagnosis. Your doctor will interpret this test, taking into account your medical history and other tests. A result that is slightly low/high may not be of medical significance, as this test often varies from day to day and from person to person.
Symptoms of High Alkaline Phosphatase
The symptoms we discuss here are commonly associated with high alkaline phosphatase levels, but are not enough for a diagnosis. Work with your doctor to discover what underlying condition might be causing high alkaline phosphatase levels and to develop an appropriate plan to improve your health.
When caused by liver disease, symptoms of high ALP include [4, 5]:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Swelling and pain in your stomach
- Dark-colored urine and/or light-colored stool
Symptoms caused by bone disorders include :
- Bone or joint pain
- Enlarged or abnormally shaped bones
- Higher frequency of bone fractures
Causes of High Alkaline Phosphatase
While alkaline phosphatase may not necessarily cause harm to the body itself, elevated levels are associated with cancer, bone, liver, and kidney diseases .
Additionally, lifestyle factors, medication, and certain supplements can raise alkaline phosphatase levels. Work with your doctor to find out what causes your high alkaline phosphatase levels.
1) Birth control pills
Birth control pills can increase alkaline phosphatase to many times the level of a normal range .
Exercise increases bone alkaline phosphatase levels after thirty and fifty minutes of moderate to intensive exercise in male cyclists, but it quickly returns to normal .
3) Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones stimulate alkaline phosphatase [10, 11]. Increased alkaline phosphatase levels are also correlated with hyperthyroidism .
4-5) Efavirenz and Cissus quadrangularis
Efavirenz, an anti-HIV drug, is associated with increased alkaline phosphatase levels in HIV patients. The high enzyme levels also associated with increased bone turnover and Vitamin D deficiency .
Cissus quadrangularis, a type of plant from the grape family, significantly increases alkaline phosphatase activity in cell culture. It also increases bone mineralization, which is ly due to the increased enzyme function .
6) Estrogen and Testosterone Metabolites
Estrogen, 5 alpha-DHT, and dehydroepiandrosterone (different types of hormones) can increase the enzyme’s activity (not the level in the blood) in human endometrial cancer cell lines .
Estrogen is also able to regulate the growth and expression of this enzyme in human bone marrow cell culture .
7) Biliary Obstruction and Liver Cancer
High liver alkaline phosphatase levels are associated with bile duct obstruction and liver cancer. The presence of liver alkaline phosphatase in patients may indicate the presence of a tumor in the bile duct .
8) Colon Cancer
Alkaline phosphatase levels are frequently high in patients with metastatic colon cancer. Increasing alkaline phosphatase levels are correlated with an increased cancer stage and may indicate that cancer has spread to the liver .
9) Breast Cancer
Women with breast cancer had elevated levels of alkaline phosphatase compared to normal healthy women. The increase of enzyme activities also indicates that the cancer is metastatic and spread to either the bone or liver [19, 20].
Leukemia patients, especially untreated ones, have high alkaline phosphatase levels. The placenta alkaline phosphatase level is a useful biomarker to help diagnose and treat leukemia .
Alzheimer’s patients have higher tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase levels compared to healthy patients. The higher the alkaline phosphatase activity, the lower the brain function .
12) Paget’s Disease
Paget’s disease is a common disorder that affects bone strength and formation. Abnormally high levels of bone alkaline phosphatase can be an indicator of bone turnover, so while the enzyme does not cause the disease, it can be a helpful indicator .
13) Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is usually accompanied by elevated levels of total alkaline phosphatase in the blood. However, it is not the best indicator of vitamin D deficiency .
14) Heart Disease
Elevated alkaline phosphatase levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
In a prospective study of more than 3,000 elderly men, the higher alkaline phosphatase levels predict higher risks of heart attacks, strokes, and increase mortality .
15) Liver Problems Associated with Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the gut lining upon gluten consumption. In cases of uncontrolled celiac disease where the patients continue to consume gluten, other liver and biliary tract disorders can occur. Elevated alkaline phosphatase levels are associated with these two disorders .
16) Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is associated with high levels of alkaline phosphatase. The higher alkaline phosphatase levels correlate with worsened bone and other tissue damage in sickle cell anemia patients [27, 28].
In patients with sickle cell disease, higher levels of alkaline phosphatase are associated with vaso-occlusive crises involving the bones .
Epileptic children have higher alkaline phosphatase levels compared to children without the disorder .
18) Genetic Factors
Different genes encode human alkaline phosphatases, i.e. :
- ALPP for the alkaline phosphatase in the placenta
- ALPL (also called TNAP for Tissue Non-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase) for the alkaline phosphatase in the liver, bone, and kidney
Go to SelfDecode to learn how your genes can influence your alkaline phosphatase levels.
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How to Reduce Alkaline Phosphatase
If your phosphatase alkaline levels are too high, discuss with your doctor what underlying health conditions are causing them and what strategies may help you lower them. Never implement them in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
1) Support Your Liver
If your alkaline phosphatase levels are high because you have liver damage, you may look into natural ways to support the health of your liver. Your liver has the capacity to regenerate.
Talk to your doctor about how to improve your liver health and read our 6-step protocol for liver regeneration.
In a nutshell, you should take targeted liver-protective herbs and nutrients while adapting your diet and reducing alcohol intake.
Consider liver-protective supplements :
Vegetables broccoli , onions , dandelion greens, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts  also have a cleansing effect on the liver.
Here is a list of all foods and supplements that are good for your liver.
2) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the levels of intestinal alkaline phosphatase, whereas omega-6 fatty acid increases the level of intestinal alkaline phosphatase in the gut .
3) Stop Smoking
Stop smoking, as it can increase ALP levels .
Coffee intake is linked to lower ALP levels. Remember to stick to a moderate consumption to avoid unwanted effects such as high blood pressure and sleep disturbances .
Cinacalcet, a drug for chronic kidney disease, can reduce blood alkaline phosphatase levels by more than twenty percent in patients after 26 weeks of administration. This drug should be prescribed by a doctor and taken as recommended .
6) Resistance Exercise
In untrained male subjects, one single b resistance exercise can cause bone ALP activity to significantly decrease two and three days after the exercise .
7) Sun Exposure/Vitamin D
Since vitamin D deficiency has been linked with high alkaline phosphatase, be sure to check your levels. If you are deficient, get more sun and/or take vitamin D supplements. Reasonable sun exposure is a better way to increase your vitamin D levels than supplements.
Alkaline Phosphatase Level Test (ALP)
An alkaline phosphatase level test (ALP test) measures the amount of alkaline phosphatase enzyme in your bloodstream. The test requires a simple blood draw and is often a routine part of other blood tests.
Abnormal levels of ALP in your blood most often indicate a problem with your liver, gallbladder, or bones. However, they may also indicate malnutrition, kidney cancer tumors, intestinal issues, a pancreas problem, or a serious infection.
The normal range of ALP varies from person to person and depends on your age, blood type, gender, and whether you’re pregnant.
The normal range for serum ALP level is 20 to 140 IU/L, but this can vary from laboratory to laboratory.
The normal range runs higher in children and decreases with age.
The best way to know what is normal or not is to discuss the results with your doctor, who will be able to interpret the lab’s specific result and reference ranges.
What is alkaline phosphatase?
ALP is an enzyme found in your bloodstream. It helps break down proteins in the body and exists in different forms, depending on where it originates.
Your liver is one of the main sources of ALP, but some is also made in your bones, intestines, pancreas, and kidneys. In pregnant women, ALP is made in the placenta.
An ALP test may be performed to determine how well your liver and gallbladder are functioning or to identify problems with your bones.
Liver and gallbladder
Checking ALP levels in the blood is a routine part of liver function and gallbladder tests. Symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting may lead your doctor to suspect something is wrong with your liver or gallbladder.
The ALP test can be helpful in identifying conditions such as:
- hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
- cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
- cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- blockage of bile ducts (from a gallstone, inflammation, or cancer)
You may also need an ALP test if you’re taking a medication that has the potential to damage your liver, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Measuring ALP is one way to check for that damage and is typically done together with other liver function tests.
The ALP test can be helpful in the diagnosis of bone problems such as:
- rickets, a weakening or softening of the bones in children that’s most commonly due to a significant deficiency of vitamin D or calcium
- osteomalacia, a softening of the bones in adults usually due to significant vitamin D deficiency, but also possibly due to the body’s inability to process and use vitamin D properly
- Paget’s disease of the bone, a disorder causing major problems with bone destruction and regrowth
ALP testing may also be helpful in investigating the presence of cancer tumors, unusual bone growth, or vitamin D deficiency. It can also be used to check the progress of treatment for any of the above conditions.
Having blood drawn for an ALP test is routine. It’s usually combined with other liver and kidney function tests.
You may have to fast for 10 to 12 hours prior to the test. However, you most ly won’t need to do anything else to prepare ahead of time.
If the results of the test are inconclusive, your doctor may order a follow-up test.
Eating can interfere with your ALP levels. Medications can also change your ALP levels, so be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking.
An ALP test requires a healthcare provider to draw a small sample of blood from your arm. This is done in your doctor’s office or in a clinical lab.
A healthcare provider cleans the skin on the front side of your elbow with an antiseptic and applies an elastic band to allow blood to pool in the vein. They then insert a needle into the vein to draw blood into a small tube. The process is quick and causes little pain or discomfort.
There are very few risks associated with having your blood drawn.
You may experience some bruising around the puncture site, but this can be avoided by putting pressure on the wound.
In rare cases, phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) may develop. If you experience this complication, apply a warm compress until the swelling goes down.
Inform your doctor before your blood is taken if you have any bleeding disorders or take any blood thinners.
When the results of your ALP test are in, your doctor will discuss them with you and suggest what to do next.
Higher-than-normal levels of ALP in your blood may indicate a problem with your liver or gallbladder. This could include hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, gallstones, or a blockage in your bile ducts.
High levels may also indicate an issue related to the bones such as rickets, Paget’s disease, bone cancer, or an overactive parathyroid gland.
In rare cases, high ALP levels can indicate heart failure, kidney cancer, other cancer, mononucleosis, or bacterial infection.
Having lower-than-normal ALP levels in your blood is rare, but it can indicate malnutrition, which could be caused by celiac disease or a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals.
What Is an Alkaline Phosphatase Test?
Alkaline phosphatase is one kind enzyme found in your body. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions happen. For instance, they can break big molecules down into smaller parts, or they can help smaller molecules join together to form bigger structures.
You have alkaline phosphatase throughout your body, including your liver, digestive system, kidneys, and bones.
If you show signs of liver disease or a bone disorder, your doctor may order an alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test to measure the amount of the enzyme in your blood and help in diagnosing the problem. Sometimes it’s part of a broader group of tests called a routine liver or hepatic panel, which checks how your liver is working.
If your liver isn’t working right, the amount of ALP in your blood may be high. Doctors often use the test to look for blocked bile ducts. Other conditions that can cause problems with your liver include:
- Liver cancer
- Blockage in the bile ducts
The test can also spot problems with your bones, including:
- Cancers that have spread to your bones
- Paget’s disease, which affects how bones grow
- Issues caused by vitamin D deficiency
The lab will need a small amount of blood to perform the test.
The person in charge of taking your blood will start by placing a tight elastic band, called a tourniquet, around your upper arm. This makes your veins swell with blood.
The lab tech will clean an area of your skin with a germ-killing solution. (It might be a spot inside your elbow or the back of your hand). You’ll feel a small stick when the needle goes into your vein. The blood flows into a small vial attached to the needle.
When the test is done, the lab tech will take the tourniquet off, and you’ll get a bandage on the spot where the needle went in. It takes only a few minutes.
Taking blood samples is usually very safe. Some things that might happen after the test include a bruise at the spot where the needle went in, and a little dizziness. There’s also a slight chance of infection.
You may have to limit food and liquids for several hours before the test. Some medicines interfere with the results, so make sure your doctor knows about all drugs you take, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.
Be sure to let your doctor know if you are pregnant, because that will increase the level of ALP in your blood.
It generally takes 1-2 days for results to come back from the lab.
Higher-than-normal ALP levels for your age and sex may not necessarily mean you have a problem. (Children and teens naturally have higher levels than adults because their bones are still developing).
If your ALP level is high, your doctor may have you take another test, called an ALP isoenzyme test, to determine whether the alkaline phosphatase in your blood is coming from your liver or your bones.
University of Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia: “Alkaline Phosphatase.”
The Science Museum (U.K.): “Your Body — What Do Your Cells Do?”
National Institutes of Health, Genetics Home Reference: “ALPL gene.”
American Association for Clinical Chemistry: “Lab Tests Online — ALP.”
Kids Health by Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test — Hepatic (Liver) Function Panel.”
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