What Do Your Alkaline Phosphatase Levels Indicate? Know Here

alkaline phosphatase levels

Alkaline phosphatase, often referred to as ALP, is a remarkable enzyme that plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health. Understanding your ALP levels, whether they are too low or too high, can provide valuable insights into your well-being.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of ALP, exploring the significance of its levels, the potential health implications, and the steps you can take to ensure your ALP remains within the optimal range.

What is Alkaline Phosphatase?

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in various tissues throughout the body, including the liver, bones, and intestines. Its levels are typically measured through a blood test to assess your overall health. A typical ALP normal range falls within 20 to 140 U/L, but this range may vary depending on your age, sex, and individual circumstances.

Alkaline Phosphatase High: What Does it Mean?

When your Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) levels are higher than the normal range, typically falling in the range of 20-140 U/L, it raises a red flag and signifies the presence of an underlying issue. Elevated ALP levels can be a cause for concern and demand a closer look.

  • Liver Disease: One common association with elevated ALP levels is liver disease. The liver plays a crucial role in producing ALP, and when liver cells are damaged or inflamed, they can release higher levels of this enzyme into the bloodstream. Conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or obstructive diseases of the liver’s bile ducts can result in elevated ALP levels.
  • Bone Disorders: Elevated ALP can also be linked to various bone disorders. In particular, diseases affecting bone growth and development can lead to increased ALP. Conditions like Paget’s disease, where the normal bone remodeling process is disrupted, can cause the bones to release excess ALP. Similarly, certain bone cancers can elevate ALP levels due to their impact on bone tissue.
  • Cancers: Certain cancers, especially those that affect the liver or bones, can lead to elevated ALP levels. For instance, primary liver cancer or metastatic cancer that has spread to the liver may cause ALP levels to rise. [1] In bone cancers, such as osteosarcoma or Ewing’s sarcoma, the bone’s reaction to the tumor can result in elevated ALP.

In addition to these common causes, there are other potential factors and conditions that can contribute to high ALP levels. These include conditions affecting the gallbladder, bile ducts, and even some medications. To pinpoint the precise cause of elevated ALP, further diagnostic tests and evaluations are often necessary.

Alkaline Phosphatase Low Levels

When alkaline phosphatase levels dip below the normal range, it’s essential to evaluate the underlying causes and the potential health risks associated with low ALP.

This condition often accompanies various health issues, most commonly malnutrition. Conditions like Wilson disease or the rare bone metabolism disorder Hypophosphatasia can also result in low ALP.

  • Risk Factors for Low ALP: Identifying your risk factors for low ALP is crucial. Low ALP levels can be temporary after procedures like blood transfusion or heart bypass surgery. Chronic low ALP levels, on the other hand, typically signal an underlying health problem. [2]
  • Get a Standard Blood Test: A standard blood test is the primary way to assess your ALP levels. This test, along with other enzyme markers, helps paint a comprehensive picture of your overall health. It’s advisable to consult your doctor for a blood test, especially if you suspect malnutrition or an underlying condition contributing to low ALP.

Discussing your test results with your doctor is vital for understanding the reasons behind low ALP. Further testing might be required depending on your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor might refer you to a specialist for a more in-depth evaluation.

Evaluating Your Risk Factors

Before diving into how to manage your alkaline phosphatase levels, it’s crucial to evaluate your risk factors. If you’ve recently undergone a blood transfusion or heart bypass surgery, temporary low ALP levels may not require intervention. [2] However, chronic low ALP levels are usually symptomatic of an underlying condition and should be addressed promptly.

Getting a Standard Blood Test

To assess your ALP levels accurately, your doctor may recommend a standard blood test that checks for ALP, along with other enzymes that provide insights into your overall health. This test will help you determine your specific ALP status and whether any further action is needed.

Dietary Adjustments to Raise ALP Levels

1. Ensuring Adequate Caloric Intake

For individuals with chronically low ALP, malnutrition is the most common culprit. To address this, start by ensuring you are getting sufficient calories for your age, sex, activity level, and weight.

Working with your doctor or using an online calorie calculator can help you determine your daily calorie needs accurately.

2. Increasing Healthy Fat Intake

Healthy fats play a crucial role in raising alkaline phosphatase levels. Consider incorporating healthy fats such as cod liver oil, coconut oil, and corn oil into your diet or as daily supplements. These fats have been shown to positively impact ALP levels.

Before adding supplements to your diet, always consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have preexisting health conditions.

3. Zinc Supplements

Zinc deficiency can contribute to low ALP levels. Monitoring your daily zinc intake and ensuring it falls within the recommended range (30-40 mg per day) is important. A zinc supplement may be necessary to achieve this level consistently, but it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

4. Iron Supplements for Anemia

If your low ALP is caused or exacerbated by anemia, an iron supplement can help. The daily iron requirement varies by gender, with biological males needing about 8 mg per day and biological females requiring around 18 mg per day.

5. Treating the Underlying Cause

Since low alkaline phosphatase levels are always a symptom of another underlying condition, it is crucial to address the root cause. Work closely with your doctor to determine the appropriate treatment plan for the underlying condition, whether it’s liver disease, bone disorder, or another health issue.


In conclusion, alkaline phosphatase levels are a valuable indicator of your overall health. Whether your levels are high or low, it’s essential to evaluate your risk factors, undergo appropriate testing, and work with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. By addressing the underlying causes and making dietary adjustments, you can effectively manage your ALP levels and promote better health.


  1. Rao SR, Snaith AE, Marino D, Cheng X, Lwin ST, Orriss IR, Hamdy FC, Edwards CM. Tumour-derived alkaline phosphatase regulates tumour growth, epithelial plasticity and disease-free survival in metastatic prostate cancer. Br J Cancer. 2017 Jan 17;116(2):227-236. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2016.402. Epub 2016 Dec 22.
  2. Deeb A, Elfatih A. Could Alerting Physicians for Low Alkaline Phosphatase Levels Be Helpful in Early Diagnosis of Hypophosphatasia? J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2018 Mar 1;10(1):19-24. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.4426. Epub 2017 Aug 2.
  3. Brichacek AL, Brown CM. Alkaline phosphatase: a potential biomarker for stroke and implications for treatment. Metab Brain Dis. 2019 Feb;34(1):3-19. doi: 10.1007/s11011-018-0322-3. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

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