IF YOU BODYBUILD...

Men's Health (Singapore) - - FITNESS -

THEN YOUR AST AND ALT MAY BE HIGH

Nor­mal range: 10 to 40 units/ litre for AST; 9 to 46 units/litre for ALT

Nor­mal change with

ex­er­cise: Up to dou­ble the high end of nor­mal lev­els

What they are: As­par­tate amino­trans­ferase (AST) and ala­nine amino­trans­ferase (ALT) are gen­er­ally called liver en­zymes. High lev­els can sig­nal liver dis­ease such as hepati­tis. Who’s at risk: Body­builders Why they rise: These en­zymes aren’t just in your liver. Smaller amounts, es­pe­cially of AST, are also in your mus­cles, says Dr. Nadol­sky. So when they break down due to ex­er­cise, you may see a spike. Lev­els have been shown to re­turn to the pre-ex­er­cise base­line within 24 hours.

What to do: Red-blood-cells’ life­spans are about 120 days, so a recheck af­ter a cou­ple weeks off isn’t likely to make a dif­fer­ence, says Dr. Waite. Either stop run­ning or drop to a very low-in­ten­sity level for a month or more to see if it de­clines.

When to worry: Lev­els more than two times the up­per limit are un­likely to stem from ex­er­cise, says Dr. Waite. That can in­di­cate liver dis­ease, es­pe­cially if you also have ab­dom­i­nal pain, di­ges­tive dif­fi­cul­ties, or yel­low­ing skin.

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