Liver Function Blood Test, from our experts to you.
Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP

Chief Medical Officer meet our doctors

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What is
the liver?

Your liver is a vital organ with over 500 functions, including filtering out toxins, regulating chemicals like hormones in the blood, storing nutrients and glucose for energy, and releasing them back into the blood when needed.

What is a
Liver Function Blood Test?

Our Liver Blood Test is a liver function test that looks at liver enzymes, such as gamma GT (GGT) and alanine transferase (ALT), to indicate how well your liver is functioning and whether it’s showing signs of inflammation. In its early stages, liver damage is usually reversible, which is why it’s important to spot signs of liver damage early. 


What causes
liver disease?

The main causes of liver disease are regularly drinking too much alcohol, taking certain drugs (including prescribed and over-the-counter medications), being overweight, and infections such as viral hepatitis. Less common causes include cancer, and genetic and autoimmune conditions. 

What's included?

Liver health
Proteins
Select profile for more information

Bilirubin Bilirubin is a product of the breakdown of haemoglobin from red blood cells. It is removed from the body via the liver, stored and concentrated in the gallbladder and secreted into the bowel. It is removed from your body through urine and faeces. Bilirubin causes the yellowish colour you sometimes see in bruises, due to red blood cells breaking down underneath the skin.
ALP Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. Measuring it can indicate ongoing liver, gallbladder or bone disease.
ALT Alanine transferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is mostly found in the liver, but is also found in smaller amounts in the heart, muscles and the kidneys. If the liver is damaged, ALT is leaked into to bloodstream. As ALT is predominantly found in the liver, it is usually an accurate marker for liver inflammation and can indicate liver damage caused by alcohol, fatty liver, drugs or viruses (hepatitis).
Gamma GT Gamma GT, also known as gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), is a liver enzyme which is raised in liver and bile duct diseases. It is used in conjunction with ALP to distinguish between bone or liver disease. Gamma GT is also used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is raised in 75% of long term drinkers.
Total protein Total Protein represents the sum of the proteins albumin and globulin in your blood. Albumin and globulin have a range of functions including keeping blood within vessels, transporting nutrients and fighting infection. Abnormal levels can indicate malnutrition as well as a liver or kidney disorder.
Albumin Albumin is a protein which is made mainly in the liver. It helps to exert the osmotic pressure which holds water within the blood. It also helps carry nutrients and medications and other substances through the blood and is important for tissue growth and healing. Albumin also carries hormones around the body, therefore measuring the amount of albumin in the blood can help us calculate how much hormone is available to your tissues.
Globulin Globulin is an umbrella term for a set of different proteins that the immune system and the liver produce. Certain globulins bind with haemoglobin while others transport metals, such as iron, in the blood. Additionally, there is a certain type of globulin known as an immunoglobulin, (another name for an antibody) which helps to fight infection in the body.

How to prepare
for your test

Special instructions
Prepare for your Liver Blood Test by following these instructions. Avoid heavy exercise for 48 hours before taking the test. Although you don’t need to fast beforehand, you should avoid fatty foods for eight hours before taking the test.

Frequently asked questions

Can I find out if I have liver problems from a blood test?

Blood tests that include liver biomarkers (such as GGT and ALP) investigate your liver health. These liver tests can pick up later-stage liver disease. However, liver inflammation isn’t always detectable in a blood test, especially in the early stages of liver damage.

Why do I need a liver function blood test?

Liver blood tests help determine whether your lifestyle is impacting your liver function and help to investigate the cause of symptoms such as jaundice. Our Liver Blood Test can be used as a screening tool if you’re at higher risk of developing liver damage (for instance, if you're a heavy drinker or overweight). It can also help you track and monitor changes if you’ve received abnormal liver blood results in the past.

Do I have to fast for a liver test?

No, fasting is not usually required before our standard Liver Blood Test. However, you may be advised to fast if your test is taken alongside other biomarkers such as blood glucose, iron, or cholesterol levels.

Can I take a liver function test at home?

Yes, you can take our Liver Blood Test at home using our finger-prick blood test kit. We’ll send you everything you need to check your liver function at home, including clear instructions and a pre-paid return envelope. Alternatively, you can have your blood sample taken at one of our convenient nationwide partner clinics at a time that suits you.

How can I check my liver function at home?

You can check your liver function with our finger-prick blood test kit. Our at-home liver test includes a full lab analysis of your blood sample. You can access your results on your MyMedichecks dashboard, alongside doctor’s advice to help you take action to improve your health and wellbeing.

How to keep your liver healthy


Exercise and a well-balanced diet are the best ways to help maintain good health and lower your chances of liver issues, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Read more about ways to keep your liver healthy.

 

Am I at risk of fatty liver disease?


You’re more at risk of fatty liver disease if you:


• Are over 50
• Are overweight or obese
• Regularly drink alcohol
• Smoke
• Have type 2 diabetes
• Have an underactive thyroid
• Have high blood pressure
• Have high cholesterol

 

Symptoms of liver disease


Most types of liver disease don’t have noticeable signs and symptoms in the early stages. You may want to get a liver test if you feel you’re at risk of liver disease.  


Signs and symptoms of liver disease can include:


• Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
• Feeling or being sick 
• Loss of appetite 
• Feeling very tired and weak all the time
• Itchy skin

 

Liver Blood Test results explained


Our Liver Blood Test assesses the levels of proteins and other substances made by the liver to make sure they’re normal. Key biomarkers include ALT, ALP, GGT, and bilirubin.


ALT levels increase when liver cells are damaged, which helps to detect inflammation or to assess liver scarring (cirrhosis). GGT is a potential indicator of alcohol intake or fatty liver disease.


ALP and bilirubin are particularly useful for detecting obstructions in the liver. Their levels may be raised with gallstones or other diseases that block the bile duct. 


Read more about liver biomarkers in our blogs on ALP, GGT, albumin, and bilirubin
 


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