Body Building and Aminotransferase Elevations: A Review

Body Building and Aminotransferase Elevations : A Review / Jaimy Villavicencio Kim, George Y. Wu. - (Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 8 (2020) 2; p. 161-167)

  • PMID: 32832396
  • PMCID: PMC7438350
  • DOI: 10.14218/JCTH.2020.00005


In addition to liver injury, elevation of aminotransferases can be caused by strenuous exercise and use of muscle-building and weight-loss supplements. The purpose of this review is to discuss the various mechanisms of elevation of aminotransferases related to body building. A literature review was performed on clinical trials and case reports involving exercise or supplement use and their effects on aminotransferases. Normal aminotransferase levels varied according to gender, age, body mass index, and comorbidities. Strenuous exercise and weight lifting, especially in the unaccustomed, can cause elevated aminotransferases in the absence of liver damage. Supplements such as anabolic steroids, ephedra, and LipoKinetix, amongst others, have also been associated with aminotransferase elevations. The pattern of elevation of aminotransferases is not helpful in distinguishing liver from muscle injury. Other associated muscle enzymes can be useful in making that distinction. To prevent aminotransferase elevations, subjects not accustomed to moderate-high intensity workouts, are recommended to undertake gradual increase in intensity. When causes of liver injury have been ruled out, investigation into bodybuilding, extreme exercise, and supplement use is warranted.

Original document


3 June 2020
Kim, Jaimy Villavicencio
Wu, George Y.
United States of America
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University of Connecticut Health Center (UConn Health)
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Kidney / liver disease
Gym/fitness environment
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Scientific article
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Date generated
2 September 2020
Date of last modification
1 December 2021
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