In May of 2018, the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research reported on a study performed at the South Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China, and the First Hospital of Jilin University in Changchun, China. High liver enzymes which indicate liver disease, were linked to insulin resistance, the cause of Type 2 diabetes.
A total of 212 participants with Type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease were studied. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as the name describes, is a condition with too much fat stored in the liver, not caused by alcoholism. Between 2014 and 2015 liver enzymes, abbreviated ALT, AST, and GGT were measured, along with blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin resistance, indicated by the amount of blood sugar compared with insulin levels, was high in those participants with elevated ALT and AST levels, although there was no correlation with GGT. From these results, the investigators concluded measuring the levels of ALT and AST could provide information on insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes as well as serving its usual function of indicating liver health.
- ALT is an enzyme, a molecule that speeds up reactions in other molecules. In this case, it helps amino acids go together to form a liver molecule known as oxaloacetate. Smaller amounts of the enzyme are also found in skeletal muscle, kidneys, and the heart.
- AST is another enzyme, which speeds up the transfer of part of an amino acid between two molecules, aspartate, and glutamate. It is found not only in the liver but the heart – cardiac muscle, the skeletal muscle, kidneys, brain, and red blood cells.
- GGT moves other molecules around the body. It is found in the kidneys and pancreas as well as the 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 belly fat, and can exist without the individual’s knowledge. On the other hand, it can progress to fatal liver cirrhosis. Liver disease and Type 2 diabetes are two health problems to avoid developing by maintaining low levels of belly fat.
One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, so to lose one pound of fat each week you need to burn off 500 calories more than you take in every day. Go for a brisk walk and burn off 200 calories in a half hour. Now have a salad with artichokes, mushrooms, chopped onions, chopped cabbage, and Italian dressing instead of the hamburger. You are on your way.