GGT in a blood test – reasons for an increase or decrease

Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT, GGTP) is one of the indicators in liver studies, which is characterized as a protein enzyme involved in the exchange of amino acids.

The concentration of this enzyme occurs mainly in the liver cells, kidneys and pancreas. Its lower concentration is noted in the brain, heart cavities, intestines and spleen.

This indicator is significant in diagnosing liver disorders. The identical name is gamma glutamate transferase, and the determination takes place in a biochemical blood test, or in liver tests.

What is Glutamine Transferase?

ggt gamma glutamiltransferaza 4 - 11Glutamyl transferase (ggt) takes part in complex biochemical processes, being a catalyst for the transport and metabolic processes of amino acids with the cells of the body.

Localization of this protein enzyme is located directly in the cell, in the membrane, lysosome and cytoplasm.

When the cell is deformed, it enters the bloodstream. Slight increases in the indicator are normal, since the body is constantly dying of old cells, and their replacement with new ones. A pathological condition is a condition in which a large number of cells die off, but much less is restored.

In the final test result, Y glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) and gamma glutamine transferase (GGTP) can be recorded. They have a slight difference:

This membrane-binding enzyme is involved in the exchange of amino acids. Its greatest concentration is in the spleen, pancreas, liver tissues, and kidneys. In all these organs, it is located in the outer membrane.It is an active participant in the formation of new protein molecules, catalyzes biochemical reactions and is a more significant test in diagnosing liver diseases. GGTP indicates the presence of cholestasis, and consists of a biochemical blood test called liver function tests, along with such enzymes as ALT, AST and alkaline phosphatase, as well as bilirubin.

In the presence of pathological conditions, the process of cell deformation is significantly rooted, which leads to a sudden increase in GGT in blood plasma. It is he who reacts faster to damage to liver cells and is a more sensitive indicator. It is very effective in helping to diagnose hepatitis, even before changes in other blood parameters and external symptoms.

An indicator such as glutamyl transpeptidase is also very sensitive to the effects of alcohol, and is used to adjust the treatment for alcoholism.

When is the analysis scheduled?

Referral for analysis occurs if there is a suspicion of pathological liver disorders, as well as alcoholism. That is why the GGT indicator is important for a narcologist.

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Referral for the analysis of liver enzymes occurs when there is a suspicion of pathological liver disorders.

In the following cases, a study of liver function tests is prescribed:

  • Suspected liver tissue death due to alcohol exposure
  • Suspected hepatitis
  • To diagnose pathological liver damage,
  • If there is a suspicion of cancer of the prostate or pancreas,
  • In order to monitor the effectiveness of therapy in the treatment of alcoholism,
  • With complaints of pain in the right side of the abdomen,
  • Nausea, vomiting,
  • Constant fatigue
  • Jaundice,
  • Before carrying out planned surgical interventions,
  • During routine medical examinations.

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What are the indicators of the norm of GGT?

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A month later, after the last consumption of alcohol, this figure is halved.

The indicator of the norm of glutamyltransperidase fluctuates depending on the age category, gender and even race. The physician should take this into account when examining the test results.

So the norms of adults fluctuate in the range from six to seventy units per liter, given that women have a significantly lower level than men.

And in children, GGTP can reach levels of 185 units/l, and at the age of up to six months, the increase can be up to 200 units/l.

In the case of infants, gamma-glutamyltransferase is elevated, which means that after birth, within a few days, this enzyme is practically not synthesized by the liver, and its main supplier is the placenta.

Fact! Also, higher levels of GGT are recorded in people with dark skin. The difference in indicators between blacks and Europeans can be almost 2 times.

Age categoryThe norm in men at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (U/L)The norm in women at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (U/L)
Children under 5 days of age<, 185<, 185
5 days to 6 months<, 204<, 204
6 – 12 months<, 34<, 34
1 – 3 of the year<, 18<, 18
3 – 6 years<, 23<, 23
6 – 12 years<, 17<, 17
12 – 17 years<, 45<, 33
Over 17 years<, 49<, 32

The results in the table above clearly show increased blood protein saturation in males over the age of twelve, comparable to females of the same age.

This difference is due to the accumulation of the GGT enzyme in the prostate gland. This makes it possible to diagnose prostatitis and other pathological conditions of this gland, manifested in high GGT values ​​in blood biochemistry.

Also, separate norms exist for women carrying a child, they are shown in the table below.

Gestational ageNorm (Unit/L)
1 – 3 months0-17
3 – 6 months<, 33
6 – 9 months<, 32

The indicators of different laboratories may differ, therefore, the norm for a particular laboratory should be found out at the place of analysis. But, in most cases, a violation of the result will be highlighted with a red underline (a generally accepted rule of laboratories) in order to clearly differ from other indicators.

Gamma HT elevated causes?

The factors influencing the increase in GGT are many diseases associated with disorders in the liver.

The reason for the increase can be one of the following:

  • The death of liver tissue under the influence of alcoholic toxins,
  • Liver cancer,
  • Chronic hepatitis,
  • Jaundice,
  • Cholecystitis,
  • Toxic liver damage
  • Death of liver tissue due to hepatitis,
  • Acute viral hepatitis,
  • Diabetes,
  • Pathological conditions of the lungs,
  • Arthritis,
  • Lupus erythematosus,
  • Fatty hepatosis
  • Exposure of the liver to radiation
  • Cholelithiasis,
  • Tumor formations of a malignant nature that metastasize to the liver,
  • Dying off of heart muscle tissue (high GGT is noted after the fourth day of the pathological condition, and the maximum values ​​are reached after a couple of weeks). The reason for the increase is the recovery processes of the myocardium and hepatic parenchyma,
  • Alcohol addiction,
  • Medicines for the treatment of tuberculosis (Rifampicin), epilepsy (Phenobarbital, Phenytoin), hormonal contraceptives, anticonvulsants, certain antidepressants, steroids, medicines against rheumatism.

For accurate diagnosis, in most cases, additional hardware studies of the body are prescribed.

Why are indicators falling?

A decrease in such an indicator as glutamine aminotransferase is a rather rare phenomenon. And it is due to one of three reasons:

  • Hypothyroidism is a pathological condition of the thyroid gland, in which it produces an insufficient amount of hormones – thyroxine and triiodothyronine – which leads to a failure in the metabolic processes of the body,
  • The use of certain medications,
  • GGT is lowered in patients undergoing treatment for alcohol dependence after a month of therapy.

How is GGT analyzed?

The study of GGT is included in the biochemical blood test and is included in the group of liver tests. To determine, human biological material (blood) is used, which is donated on an empty stomach, since the consumption of food increases the activity of enzymes, which will lead to false results.

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Blood is drawn from a vein.

It is very important to follow all the preparation measures before doing a blood test so that you do not have to go through it again.

The GGT level is recorded at different temperatures of the incubation sample and by different methods. The choice of the method and the temperature to be used depends directly on the laboratory in which the patient takes the analysis and the equipment installed in them.

As a result of the analysis, next to the GGT indicator, the temperature at which the study was carried out is noted. So the decoding of the analysis is subject only to an experienced doctor, since in addition to the temperature and the method of research, it is necessary to take into account the gender, age, and also the race of the patient.

What measures should be taken during preparation?

To avoid false readings in the final table of results, it is recommended to follow the preparation steps. Observing the following rules, the results will be the most reliable, which will help to correctly diagnose or refute the disease.

The main recommendations for preparation are:

  • Blood is donated on an empty stomach. To avoid deviations in blood counts triggered by the activation of enzymes due to food intake. Food consumption is limited for at least eight hours (preferably more than ten) before the time of blood sampling. That is why the analysis is given in the morning, since at night a person will not feel hunger. It is also prohibited to drink any drinks, including ordinary drinking water,
  • Refuse to eat fatty, highly salty, spicy, overcooked, heavy food for the body for at least twenty-four hours (preferably forty-eight hours). Such foods affect enzymes too strongly, significantly increasing performance,
  • It is recommended to stop playing sports and avoid strong physical exertion to the maximum, two days in advance, since physical influences on the body also affect the final results,
  • A visit to the sauna, steam bath, hot bath the day before, can lead to fluctuations in normal performance. Avoid visiting places where the body is exposed to thermal effects,
  • Limit the intake of alcoholic beverages, the use of cigarettes at least a day before the upcoming analysis,
  • Suspend the use of medicines, at least two days before the analysis. Preparations of certain groups can affect the indicators of a biochemical blood test. If it is not possible to stop using drugs, you must inform your doctor about the use of drugs. The doctor will make adjustments to the results, in accordance with the effect of a particular drug on human blood,
  • Come to donate blood 10-15 minutes in advance. This is necessary so that the body calms down, shortness of breath passes, and the body acclimatizes to the temperature conditions of the room (especially after a cold street).

Fact! If you are experiencing severe hunger, then it is better to take food with you and satisfy your hunger immediately after taking blood.

What can affect the results?

In addition to liver disorders, the following factors can affect the normal result, leading to a false reading. These include:

  • Prolonged use of ascorbic acid can significantly underestimate the result of GGT,
  • An increased level of GGT is provoked by antibiotics, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, aspirin, paracetamol, testosterone and certain types of medications,
  • Excessive excess weight.

Fact! When decoding the analysis, it is also important to take into account other indicators in the biochemical blood test (lipase, LDH, bilirubin, ALT, AST, etc.), since almost all GGT deviations are accompanied by a violation of the levels of other enzymes. ALT and AST are elevated, then the pathology is confirmed.

How to reduce GGT indicators?

To lower the GGT indicator, you need to heal the initial pathology, which led to this

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When treating alcoholism, the GGT index decreases after a month.

state. When the primary disease is cured, the indicators can be normalized quickly enough.

You should also take preventive actions that will help prevent a wide range of diseases. These include:

  • Tidy up the daily routine, setting aside time for proper rest and sleep,
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity,
  • Get rid of bad habits. Toxins supplied with alcoholic beverages and cigarettes have a detrimental effect on the body,
  • Eat properly. The diet must be balanced so that the body receives all the necessary nutrients and trace elements,
  • Maintain the body at a normal temperature. The body should not be too cold or too hot,
  • Avoid stressful situations. Eliminate strong emotional stress (both positive and negative), constant stress,
  • It is recommended to go in for sports, maintain an active lifestyle, and also allocate at least one hour a day for walking,
  • Once a year, take a blood test and be examined. This is done for early diagnosis of possible diseases.

Compliance with these simple but effective rules will save you from most diseases and improve the human condition.

Conclusion

In different laboratories, research is carried out in different ways, depending on the equipment and research method.

Diagnosis is not based solely on the biochemical parameters of GGT. For further diagnosis, the indicators of other blood enzymes are taken into account, and additional hardware tests are carried out.

You can try to decipher the general blood test at home, but remember that it depends on many factors, so it is better to entrust it to a qualified doctor.

If you find the slightest symptoms of disease, go to the hospital for examination and effective treatment.

Do not self-medicate and be healthy!

Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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