Health Glossary

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

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.
Author Dr. Jacky Lio
Date 2021-07-16
Updated on 2021-07-21
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What is alkaline phosphatase?What is the normal range for ALP? What do abnormal levels mean?What is the risk of high ALP? How to naturally reduce Alkaline Phosphatase?

What is alkaline phosphatase?

An ALP Test measures the amount of this enzyme circulating in a person’s blood. ALP is tested as a routine liver profiling. Severely abnormal levels of ALP can signify a severe underlying medical condition, typically one relating to the liver, bones, or gallbladder.

What is the normal range for ALP?

The normal range of ALP varies from person to person and depends on your age, blood type, gender, and in pregnancy. For men and women older than age 18, an ALP level between 44 and 147 U/L is considered normal. The normal range for children is higher than that for adults, especially for infants and teens because their bones are growing rapidly. Values above 130 U/L are usually considered to be high.

What do abnormal levels mean?

Abnormal levels may be due to the following conditions:

Higher-than-normal ALP levels

  • Bile duct obstruction
  • Certain bone diseases
  • Eating a fatty meal if you have blood type O or B
  • Healing fracture
  • Hepatitis (Inflammation of the liver)
  • Blood cancer (Leukemia)
  • Liver disease
  • Lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells called Lymphocytes)
  • Certain bone tumors
  • Paget disease, common disorder that affects bone strength and formation
  • Rickets(deficiency in Vitamin D)
  • Sarcoidosis (inflammatory disease in which small clumps of inflammatory cells, called granulomas, form in various organs)

Lower-than-normal ALP levels

  • Malnutrition
  • Protein deficiency

What is the risk of high ALP?

In liver disease, a noticeable increase in ALP suggests you have a reduced or blocked flow of bile. That’s a condition that doctors call Cholestasis. When ALP is elevated in liver disease, it can be suggestive of obstructing gallstones or bile obstruction from cancer.

How to naturally reduce Alkaline Phosphatase?

  1. Support Your Liver
    If your alkaline phosphatase levels are high, you could 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.
    Consider liver-protective supplements like:

    • Milk thistle
    • NAC (300mg if you are also taking milk thistle)
    • Taurine (500 mg)
    • Vitamin C (500 mg)
    • B vitamins (low dosages)
    • ALCAR and Lipoic acid

    Vegetables like broccoli, onions, dandelion greens, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts also have a cleansing effect on the liver. You must also reduce your alcohol intake.

  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. Chia seeds, flax seeds, brussel sprouts, Algal oil, and walnuts are some rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. Stop Smoking
    Smoking can increase ALP levels. Thus, avoid smoking.
  4. Coffee
    Coffee intake is linked to lower ALP levels. Remember to stick to moderate consumption of coffee.
  5. Resistance Exercise
    In untrained male subjects, one single bout of resistance exercise can cause bone ALP activity to significantly decrease in 2-3 days after the exercise. Thus, adding resistance exercises to your daily routine is essential to keep ALP low.
  6. 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. A natural Sun exposure is a better way to increase your vitamin D levels.
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