Disease & Treatment

Liver Function Test: The Basics for a Healthy Liver

1. Introduction

One of the best ways to assess the health of the liver is through liver function tests (LFTs) because the liver is an essential organ responsible for various vital functions in the body. In this article, we will delve into the importance of LFTs, their significance in diagnosing liver disorders, and what you can do to maintain a healthy liver.

Liver Function Test

2. What is a Liver Function Test?

A liver function test is a series of blood tests that provide crucial insights into the liver’s health and functionality. These tests help evaluate various liver enzymes and other substances present in the blood, which indicate how well the liver is performing its functions.

3. The Role of the Liver in the Body

Before understanding LFTs, it’s essential to grasp the role of the liver in maintaining overall health. The liver is responsible for metabolizing nutrients, detoxifying harmful substances, producing bile for digestion, and regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

4. Indications for Liver Function Test

LFTs are usually recommended by doctors for various reasons, including:

Monitoring Liver Diseases

Patients diagnosed with liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver, may require regular liver function tests to monitor their liver’s health and the effectiveness of treatment.

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Routine Health Check-ups

Liver function tests are often included in routine health check-ups to detect liver abnormalities early, even in individuals without apparent symptoms.

Evaluating Medication Effects

Certain medications can have adverse effects on the liver. LFTs help in assessing how these medications are affecting the liver and whether any adjustments are necessary.

5. Understanding LFT Parameters

Liver function tests comprise several parameters that indicate different aspects of liver health:

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)

ALT and AST are enzymes found in the liver cells. Elevated levels of these enzymes in the blood may indicate liver damage or inflammation.


Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced during the breakdown of red blood cells. Elevated bilirubin levels may signify liver or gallbladder issues.

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

ALP is an enzyme found in the liver and bones. Abnormal ALP levels can indicate liver or bone disorders.

Albumin and Total Protein

Albumin is a protein produced by the liver. Low albumin levels in LFTs may suggest liver disease or malnutrition.

Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)

GGT is an enzyme found in various body tissues, including the liver. Elevated GGT levels can indicate liver or bile duct problems.

6. Preparing for Liver Function Test

To ensure accurate results, some preparatory measures should be taken before undergoing an LFT:


Most LFTs require fasting for at least 8 hours before the blood test. It helps eliminate any interference from recent meals.

Medication Review

Inform your healthcare provider about any medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you are taking as they might impact the test results.

Liver Function Test Normal Range

Here are the normal reference ranges for the common liver function test parameters:

Test Parameter Normal Range

Test ParameterNormal Range
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)7 to 55 units per liter (U/L)
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)8 to 48 units per liter (U/L)
Bilirubin (total)0.1 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Billirubin (direct)less than 0.3 mg/dL (less than 5.1 µmol/L)
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)45 to 115 units per liter (U/L)
Albumin3.4 to 5.4 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Total Protein6.3 to 7.9 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)9 to 48 units per liter (U/L)
Liver Function Test Normal Range

Please note that the reference ranges may vary slightly between different laboratories, and it is essential to interpret the results in consultation with a healthcare professional.

7. Tips for a Healthy Liver

Maintaining a healthy liver is vital for overall well-being. Here are some tips to keep your liver in good shape:

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Balanced Diet

Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to support liver function.


Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and waste products from the liver.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage liver cells. Limit alcohol intake or avoid it altogether.

Regular Exercise

Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and promote liver health.

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8. Conclusion

Your liver plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, and regular liver function tests are essential to detect any potential issues early on. By taking care of your liver through a healthy lifestyle, you can ensure its proper function and longevity.

Liver Function Test: The Basics for a Healthy Liver (FAQs)

What is a Liver Function Test?

A Liver Function Test, commonly known as LFT, is a series of blood tests that assess the health and functionality of the liver. These tests measure the levels of various enzymes, proteins, and substances in the blood that indicate liver health.

Why is LFT Conducted?

LFT is conducted to assess the overall health of the liver, identify any liver-related issues, and monitor the progression of liver diseases. It can help diagnose conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, and liver infections.

How is LFT Performed?

During an LFT, a small sample of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The blood sample is tested for various parameters, including liver enzymes (AST, ALT, ALP), bilirubin levels, albumin, and total protein.

Are there any Preparations Required for an LFT?

Generally, no specific preparations are necessary for a liver function test. However, it is essential to inform your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you are taking, as they may impact the test results.

What Do LFT Results Mean?

Interpreting LFT results requires the expertise of a healthcare professional. Elevated levels of liver enzymes, such as ALT and AST, could indicate liver inflammation or damage. Abnormal bilirubin levels might suggest issues with bile flow.

Can LFT Detect Liver Diseases?

Yes, LFT can detect various liver diseases and provide valuable insights into liver health. However, it is essential to understand that LFT results alone may not provide a definitive diagnosis. Further tests and evaluations may be required.

How long does it take to get LFT results?

The turnaround time for LFT results can vary depending on the laboratory. Typically, results are available within a few days.

Are LFTs covered by insurance?

Many health insurance plans cover liver function tests, especially if they are deemed medically necessary.

Can pregnancy affect LFT results?

Yes, pregnancy can impact LFT results. It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to conceive.

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Pintu Kumar Sahu, LT, is a registered Lab Technician with a Diploma in Medical Field. He has good knowledge of Biochemistry, Pathology, Blood banks, and Microbiology.

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