Link between Elevated GGT Levels and Metabolic Syndrome Explained

Elevated GGT Levels

How Elevated GGT Levels and Metabolic Syndrome are Linked

GGT, an acronym for Gamma-glutamyl transferase gives an idea of how your liver is working. However, elevated GGT levels may also be an early indicator of metabolic syndrome (MS). MS is a cluster of conditions such as increased blood pressure, excess blood sugar, high waist circumference, and high blood cholesterol levels. Together, these conditions significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  

In this article, you learn in details about its link with metabolic syndrome, and how taking a professionally designed diet can reduce GGT levels as well as decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome.

What is Gamma-glutamyl Transferase and What High GGT Levels Mean to Your Health?

Gamma-glutamyl transferase is an enzyme that helps the liver clear off drugs and toxins from the body. There is an increasing evidence that suggests elevated GGT levels could also indicate problems with obesity, impaired glucose control, and heart disease.

You may also have high levels if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Chronic viral hepatitis
  • Liver tumor
  • Scarring of liver cells
  • Drug abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of pancreas
  • Excessive fat deposition on the liver
  • Taking certain drugs

The Link between Elevated GGT Levels and Metabolic Syndrome: What Studies Suggest?

According to a 2010 study published in The Indian Journal of Medical Research, the GGT test could be a potential predictor of metabolic syndrome. The study which involved 908 participants (both male and female) found that elevated GGT levels strongly correlated with the occurrence of metabolic syndrome. The study garnered further support from a 2013 study published in International Journal of Endocrinology. The study found that patients who had high blood levels were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. On diving deeper, the researchers further concluded that the risk was even higher among obese children. Recently in May 2017, a study published in Nature found that high amounts of GGT in the bloodstream strongly predicted problems with glucose metabolism. Most notably, the researchers noted that the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance was significantly higher in individuals with elevated GGT levels. Studies have also explored the link between GGT and high blood pressure and the results suggest a positive correlation between the two. Interestingly, the risk of high blood pressure remains high even though you are not obese. Therefore, if your GGT test shows above-normal counts, make sure to visit your doctor to get your blood pressure checked.

3 Essential Things to Know about Elevated GGT Levels

  • High levels can be seen even in a teetotaler. Studies suggest many patients who have never taken alcohol could also have high levels of GGT. That said, you should be wary of your weight and heart condition if your test shows above-normal counts.
  • It could be a strong predictor of death risk due to heart conditions including heart attack and stroke. In fact, you could rely more on the GGT levels than on tests that measure the amount of sugar, cholesterol and other fats in the blood.
  • If your test shows high levels more than a few times, you should probably go to get your blood glucose levels checked.

How Can GGT Affect Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome?

GGT mediates certain reactions that produce free radicals in the body. Then, the oxidative stress due to the free radicals contribute to the formation of plaque in the inner walls of the blood vessels. Moreover, it might also promote rupture of the plaque and aggregation of platelets in the rupture sites. All these lead to blockage of blood flow to the heart and other vital organs.

Elevated levels indicate something wrong with the synthesis of glutathione. Keep in mind that glutathione is a naturally-occurring antioxidant substance that protects tissues from the wrath of oxidative stress.

Natural Remedies to Lower GGT and Promote Glutathione in the Body

Certain dietary and lifestyle factors can greatly increase the production of glutathione. Meanwhile, the same factors can also significantly lower GGT levels in the blood. Consider making following changes in your diet and lifestyle habits.

  • Include protein in your diet. Taking more proteins is beneficial as it promotes glutathione. Poultry, eggs and whey protein, legumes and nuts are great for increasing glutathione. However, proteins from red meats such as pork and beef are not recommended.
  • Take more fruits and vegetables. A 2004 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests a regular intake of 10 to 11 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables per week could help to reduce GGT. You may also get similar benefits by taking drinking fruit juice six to seven times per week. Fruits and vegetables are rich in natural antioxidant and beneficial substances like vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, and
  • Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol not only promotes oxidative reactions but may also increase GGT levels. Thus, it’s always a good idea to keep away from drinking. If you need to drink, make sure not to exceed beyond the recommended limits.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet is a key to reducing the risk of numerous chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and others. Likewise, the same diet can also play a major role in helping to elevate glutathione and reduce GGT. Click here to find a complete guide to an anti-inflammatory diet.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about GGT and metabolic syndrome, talk to an expert. Also, know how an individually customized nutrition helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Click here to set an appointment today.


  1. Kasapoglu, B., et al. “Role of GGT in diagnosis of metabolic syndrome: a clinic-based cross-sectional survey.” The Indian Journal of Medical Research. 2010 Jul;132:56-61.
  2. Chen, SC., et al. “Liver Fat, Hepatic Enzymes, Alkaline Phosphatase and the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study of 132,377 Adults.” Science Reports. 2017 Jul 5;7(1):4649.
  3. Stranges, S., et al. “Body Fat Distribution, Liver Enzymes, and Risk of Hypertension.” Hypertension. 2005 Nov; 46(5): 1186–1193.
  4. Haghighi, S., et al. “Relationship between gamma-glutamyl transferase and glucose intolerance in first degree relatives of type 2 diabetics patients.” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. 2011 Feb;16(2):123-9.


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