Monitor Your Liver Functionality While On Steroids With These Blood Tests

A Short Intro To The Liver Function

Liver is largest internal organ, in adult man weighting around 1.5 kg. Liver has central role in our metabolism, i.t. process of substance exchange in our body.

In order to enable successful liver function, around 1.5 l of blood goes through liver in minute, what makes around1/4 of entire blood volume being delivered from heart. Two thirds of this blood volume comes to liver in portal vein.

This vein delivers substances that are absorbed in digestive tract that are afterwards processed in liver, and then either stored in body or excreted in bloodstream. Liver cells have numerous metabolic functions that happen thanks to blood delivery into them.

All liver cells  have their role in metabolism: processing of proteins, fats, carbs, bilirubin, pancreas acids, vitamins, minerals and some hormones.

Liver function can be compromised due to numerous reasons, one of them being (ab)use of anabolic steroids. In order to determine if your liver is under stress because of your steroid use, you should do liver blood tests, and here we shall evaluate some possible blood test options.

GGT – One of The Most Important Blood Test For Evaluating Liver Function

GGT is an enzyme whose increased values says very specifically about certain liver damage, either due to medicines (such as steroids) or due to alcohol abuse. It can also indicate pancreas damage.

According to some research, GGT value decreases after the meal, which is the reason why you should give blood for this testing in the morning, before breakfast. If you consume the slightest amount of alcohol within 24 hours prior testing, it will elevate GGT value.

GGT is very sensitive indicator of liver disease. It is increased in any liver disease, which is why GGT should be done with other analysis in order to determine particular illness in question. GGT increased values indicate:

  • obstruction of pancreas paths (for example, in case of pancreas stone)
  • any hepatitis type
  • malignant processes on liver
  • infective hepatitis
  • fat liver
  • alcohol hepatitis

There are some other reasons for increased GGT values, such as:

  • acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • alcoholism
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • hyperthyroidism
  • heavy smoking

It must be noted that exercising doesn't have significant effect on GGT values.

Normal Value GGT

Normal GGT values are different for men and women; women have significantly lower GGT value in blood. After 50years of age, these differences decrease. Children have separate reference values. It must be noted that reference values for African people are about 2 times higher.

Normal GGT value removes any reason for concern about liver damage due to steroid use. Increased GGT value indicated series of problems and is reason for additional testing, especially in combination with elevated AST/ALT values.

Serum Bilirubin – Another Important Blood Test For Detecting Liver Function

Bilirubin serum test is another important test when determining liver function. Elevated bilirubin indicated liver disease, because it means that bile doesn't leave liver as it should. Bile deposit in liver can happen due to oral anabolic steroids use.

There are several causes for abnormal bilirubin value, such as:

  • gallstone which obstructs bile excretion
  • hepatitis
  • tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, lymphoma
  • genetic disease, such as Dubine-Jonson syndrome, Rotor Syndrome
  • autoimmune disease, some infections, other disorders that damage liver
  • Wilson disease

Just as in the case of GGT, bilirubin cannot be elevated as a result of exercise. It is of course best if bilirubin stays within reference value. However, even when perfectly healthy quite a few individuals will sometimes exceed the reference limit, as in cases of some infections, or alcohol abuse. This means that bilirubin alone is not complete and definite indicator of liver damage.

ALT Tests

ALT is an enzyme produced by liver to metabolize proteins. Very high level of ALT in blood can indicate liver damage, in which case it might be very hard to restore liver health. This means that it is recommended not to wait for the ALT value to be really high before being concerned about it.


If all these three tests are normal, i.e. levels of mentioned enzymes/serum in blood is within reference values, then your liver is in good health and there is no reason for worry.

We recommend you to read this post  How to protect liver during steroid cycle  to get more insights on this topic.

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