GGT, also known as gamma-glutamyl transferase, is an enzyme primarily found in the liver that assists in carrying peptides and amino acids into your cells. The maximum healthy GGT blood level for women is 45 units per liter and 65 units per liter for men, according to physician Ray Sahelian. Elevated GGT is an indicator of heart disease and fatty-liver disease, and predicts increased risk of mortality. You can decrease your GGT level by consuming fruits, vegetables and certain proteins.
Glutathione is your body's primary antioxidant, which helps fight free radicals and guard against oxidative stress. Glutathione and GGT levels are inversely related. A surplus of GGT can break down this important antioxidant, leaving depleted levels of glutathione and little antioxidant protection. Health damage begins to occur when insufficient glutathione is present. Boosting antioxidant levels, such as glutathione, can help keep decrease your GGT level.
Certain kinds of protein can increase glutathione, which may help decrease your serum GGT level. Poultry, eggs and whey protein, a byproduct from producing cheese, contain cysteine, an amino acid that plays a critical role in your body's production of glutathione. Other protein sources associated with decreasing GGT include legumes and nuts. Red meat, such as pork and beef, don't contain cysteine and may increase your serum GGT level.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetable consumption may help lower your GGT level. According to a 2004 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," consuming 10 to 11 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables per week is associated with reduced GGT. Additionally, drinking fruit juice six to seven times per week and eating a serving of fruit five to six times per week can significantly decrease your GGT serum level. Specifically, fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene and folate, such as carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots, tomatoes, and pumpkin, can lower your GGT serum level and provide your body with powerful antioxidants.
Alcohol can increase your GGT levels, as alcohol is metabolized in the liver. GGT is primarily located within your liver cells and is very sensitive to alcohol consumption. Additionally, GGT levels increase from taking certain antiseizure medications, such as alcohol phenytoin and phenobarbitol. Liver diseases, pancreatitis and viral infections can also increase GGT.
Is This an Emergency?
- RaySahelian.com: GGT Blood Test Level and Natural Treatment
- Iron Disorders Institute: Iron Tests
- Diabetes Action: Liver Function Impacts Health in Diabetes: Are You Loving Your Liver?
- Ohio State University: Eat Your Whey: It May Protect Against Prostate Cancer
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Association between Serum Y-Glutamyltransferase and Dietary Factors: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study