News from Hepatitis Week of October 19, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 42
Study: High Body Mass Index Tied to Elevated ALT Levels

People with a high body mass index are more likely to have elevated levels of alanine transaminase (ALT).

ALT is an enzyme most highly concentrated in the liver and released into the blood when an injury occurs to the liver. Blood levels of ALT are measured to determine if a patient has liver damage. High ALT levels can also be a sign of hepatitis C.

The study involved 6,315 adult subjects. A team of Italian researchers tested the participants to explore the link between body mass index, sex, age, alcohol intake, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection, coffee and drug consumption, and cigarette smoking and elevated level ALT levels.

The researchers found that all of the variables besides coffee and drug consumption, age and cigarette smoking were significant predictors of elevated ALT.

Other sources: Digestive Liver Disease 2003 Sep;35(9):648-52