Urea is produced as a waste product of protein metabolism and is readily found within the blood. The kidneys are responsible for filtering this urea out of the blood into the urine. Consequently, a urea test is commonly performed to determine how well the kidneys are functioning, with elevated levels of urea in the blood suggesting impaired kidney function. However, consuming large amounts of protein or the presence of dehydration may also result in elevated levels of urea. In comparison, low amounts of urea may indicate liver failure, malnutrition, excessive hydration or the consumption of a low protein diet.
Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine phosphate that is found in muscle. Serum creatinine is an important indicator of renal health because it is an easily measured by-product of muscle metabolism that is excreted unchanged by the kidneys. Causes of elevated serum creatinine can be attributed to by a variety of lifestyle factors including, consuming creatine supplements, high amounts of animal protein, or performing high intensity exercise. Whilst other causes include impaired kidney function. On the other hand, low serum creatinine can be an indication of the kidneys functioning efficiently. In addition, a low protein diet or reduced muscle mass may also result in a low reading.
The estimated glomerular filtration rate is one of the best tests used to assess how well your kidneys are functioning. The kidneys are composed of thousands of glomeruli which act as tiny filters that are capable of filtering waste from the blood. The eGFR is an estimation of how much blood passes through these glomeruli with each passing minute and can be calculated based on blood creatinine levels, gender, age and weight. A high eGFR indicates optimal functioning of the kidneys. In contrast, a low value for eGFR means your kidneys may not be working to their full potential and can be a sign of kidney disease. eGFR can also be a useful tool in determining the stage of kidney disease which is important in identifying the best treatment for you. Early detection of kidney disease means there could be a better chance of slowing or stopping the progression of the disease. A low eGFR may also be observed in individuals from certain ethnic backgrounds or those with increased muscle mass, in which case impaired kidney function may not be the case.
The level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood is checked through the ALP test, which is often part of routine blood tests. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. The levels of this enzyme in the blood is dependent on several factors such as age, sex and blood type. Elevated levels of ALP in the blood could indicate issues relating to the liver, gall bladder or bones. As ALP is non specific, ALP is normally checked in addition to other liver function tests to determine whether the damage has occurred to the liver or the bones. Blood levels of ALP also increase two to four times during pregnancy and in growing teenagers.
Alanine transferase (ALT) is an enzyme that is produced by the liver. Elevated ALT can be indicative of inflammation of the liver characteristic of liver damage which may be caused by drugs, alcohol or viruses (hepatitis). High intensity exercise can also result in elevated levels of ALT.
Creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme that exists in various cell types and tissues but found in especially high amounts in the muscle. High levels of CK in the blood can indicate damage to the muscles as CK leaks out of the tissue. Following damage and trauma to the muscles, CK levels will drastically rise, with levels subsiding to normal once the damage is repaired. Individuals with greater muscle mass typically have higher levels of CK.
Gamma GT is an enzyme found within the liver and is typically raised following diseases affecting this tissue or the bile ducts. Elevated ALP on its own cannot distinguish between liver or bone damage, however, when this value is combined with an elevated levels of gamma GT it is indicative of liver disease. Gamma GT can also be used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is typically raised in the majority of long term drinkers.
Bilirubin is a yellow compound that is produced during the break down of haemoglobin. This is a necessary process in the body's clearance of waste products that arise from the destruction of aged or abnormal red blood cells. Bilirubin is removed from the body via the liver and excreted in bile and urine. The accumulation of bilirubin can result in jaundice which involves the yellowing discoloration of the whites of the eyes in addition to the skin. Elevated levels may indicate the livers inability to remove it from the blood and therefore can be a sign of liver damage. Certain diseases such as Gilberts syndrome or a blocked bile duct can also result in elevated levels of bilirubin.
Total Protein describes the total sum of globulin and albumin combined. Levels outside of the normal range can be indicative of kidney or liver disorders. Other causes of abnormal levels include malnutrition.
Albumin is primarily produced by the liver and is an important protein in preventing blood from leaking out of blood vessels. Other functions of albumin range from transporting substances such as medications through the blood to playing a role in the growth and repair of tissues. Elevated levels of albumin are typically caused by dehydration. In contrast, low levels may be indicative of liver disease, inflammation or malnutrition. Levels may also be raised in conditions such as diabetes.
Globulin may be produced by the immune system or the liver and consist of several different proteins with varying roles. For instance, some globulins are capable of binding to haemoglobin while others may be involved in the transport of substances like iron and in fighting infection.
Transferrin is produced by the liver and is a major protein that regulates the absorption and transportation of iron into and throughout the blood and body respectively. High levels of transferrin saturation are indicative of iron overload whilst low levels may coincide with iron deficiency.
A total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test measures the blood's ability to attach itself to iron and transport it around the body. Individuals with iron deficiency will have low levels of iron but a raised TIBC. In comparison, those that have possess too much iron, for instance, in patients with iron overload syndrome, iron will be elevated but TIBC will be reduced or normal.
Measuring the amount of iron present in the blood is important in the diagnosis of conditions such as iron deficiency anaemia caused by a lack of iron to haemochromatosis which is caused by an overload of iron. Common symptoms of both elevated and reduced levels of iron include; muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating and fatigue. Other causes of reduced iron besides anaemia can be due to general blood loss. In contrast, a raised result can be indicative of an iron overload syndrome which may be the result of an inherited condition that results in the body storing too much iron, or the excessive consumption of iron supplements.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that is found within the blood. After a meal, the body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides. These are then transported to cells where they are stored as fat. Later, the production of hormones can stimulate the release of triglycerides which can be used for energy between meals. The regular overconsumption of greater than those burned may result in hypertriglyceridemia, a condition in which the level of triglycerides are elevated. This can be a risk factor for microvascular disease which affects the tiny blood vessels around the heart.
Cholesterol is an essential body fat (lipid) that is predominantly derived from the foods we consume, though, is also produced by the liver. Cholesterol is an important component of cell membranes and is also a precursor molecule to a variety of essential hormones. Individuals with high levels of cholesterol in the body are at a significantly increased risk for developing heart disease. However, total cholesterol is a sum of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol therefore, it is necessary to investigate whether the rise in total cholesterol is caused by a high proportion of HDL or LDL as HDL can in fact exhibit protective effects against heart disease.
Uric acid is a waste product that is produced from the metabolism and breakdown of protein. Increased protein digestion may result in significant amounts of uric acid being deposited as crystals in the tissues of the body. When this process occurs in the joints, it can result in a condition known as gout which can lead to severe pain.
How it works
We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.
Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.
View results securely in your own personal dashboard.
About this test
Our liver function tracker provides you with a comprehensive analysis of your liver function. We test for key liver enzymes including GGT and ALT which typically rise in response to obstruction of the biliary system or inflammation of the liver. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also result in high levels of GGT.
Our liver function tracker includes free kidney analysis and cholesterol status to give you a complete and total profile of the health of your liver and other related organs.
This test is perfect for you if:
You would like to assess the health of your liver
You are experiencing symptoms associated with liver disease
You have been diagnosed with liver disease or other issues related to the liver and wish to monitor the health and functioning of this organ
You wish to assess the functioning of your liver and if damage has been sustained due to lifestyle factors which may include excessive alcohol or drug consumption
The early identification of liver damage is invaluable as there is a greater likelihood that measures can be taken to improve the health of the liver before the sustained damage reaches a point that it is irreversible. Such cases include cirrhosis of the liver which describes a process where healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue with impaired function.