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Type 2 Diabetes - Liver Enzymes, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes

In May 2018, the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research reports on studies conducted at the Southern Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China, and the First Hospital of Jilin University in Changchun, China. Elevated liver enzymes that promote liver disease, are linked to insulin resistance, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

A total of 212 participants with Type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were studied. Non-fatty liver disease, as the name suggests, is a condition with too much fat stored in the liver, not due to alcoholism. Among the 2014 and 2015 liver enzymes shortened ALT, AST, and GGT were measured, along with blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin resistance, as indicated by the amount of blood sugar compared to insulin levels, was high in participants with high ALT and AST levels, although it was not associated with GGT. From this result, investigators conclude that ALT and AST levels can provide information on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes as well as function with normal functioning that reflects liver health.

  • ALT is an enzyme, a molecule that speeds up reactions in other molecules. In this case, it helps the amino acids unite to form a liver molecule known as oxalacetate. Smaller amounts of enzymes are also found in skeletal, kidney, and heart muscles.

  • AST is another enzyme, which accelerates the transfer of part of the amino acids between two molecules, aspartate, and glutamate. It is found not only in the liver but also in the heart muscle - the heart, skeletal muscle, kidney, brain, and red blood cells.

  • GGT moves other molecules around the body. It is found in the kidneys and pancreas and liver.

About 50 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can expect to develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can also occur in individuals without type 2 diabetes but with high levels of stomach fat, and can occur without the knowledge of the individual. Instead, it can develop into fatal cirrhosis of the liver. Liver disease and type 2 diabetes are two health problems that prevent development by maintaining a low stomach level.

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