Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a protein that is present in all the cells of your body. Maximum concentration of alkaline phosphatase is in the bones, liver and bile ducts. Alkaline phosphatase in the blood is derived from a surplus of ALP released from these cells.
The normal value for alkaline phosphatase is 53 – 128 U/L for male and 42 – 98 U/L for a female (20 to 50 year old).
What Causes Low Alkaline Phosphatase?
The following are the commonly seen etiological factors for low ALP:
- Low level of alkaline phosphatase is seen in malnourished individuals, especially when the protein and / or calorie consumption is low. Children are more likely to develop low ALP levels due to inadequate nourishment given that their growing body has higher requirements for protein and calories. Malnutrition occurs because of an insufficient diet or due to a disorder which may interfere with the absorption of food.
- A genetic disease may trigger low alkaline phosphatase. Hypophosphatasia is such a rare genetic disorder. This disorder develops as a consequence to a mutation in the gene which synthesizes ALP. Wilson’s disease is also responsible for low alkaline phosphatase levels.
- Low alkaline phosphatase level may occur briefly after a cardiac surgery or post blood transfusion.
- Hypothyroidism also triggers low alkaline phosphatase levels.
- Severe anemia, especially due to vitamin B12 deficiency, can cause low ALP.
- Low level of vitamins in the body is also an important cause.
- Certain drugs and medicines, such as birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy are responsible low levels of alkaline phosphatase.
Symptoms Of Low Alkaline Phosphatase Levels
Low level of alkaline phosphatase is seen as:
- Poor growth and development in case it is due to inadequate nourishment.
- Headache, breathless and fatigue if it is because of B 12 deficiency and anemia.
- Weight gain, irregular periods and mood swings if it is a consequence to hypothyroidism.
- Genetic disorders have their own set of specific symptoms.
Treatment Options For Low Alkaline Phosphatase
Treating low alkaline phosphatase calls for a multi-disciplinary approach. Understand the cause for your condition and start treatment promptly:
- Usually, no treatment is required if alkaline phosphatase levels are slightly and / or temporarily low. Any treatment which may be necessary will depend upon the etiological factors of low ALP.
- First and foremost you need to improve your nutritional status – make sure that you are getting sufficient amounts of proteins and carbohydrates.
- Stop medications that are likely to set off low alkaline phosphatase levels. Confer with your health care provider and discuss your options.
- Supplements for protein, B vitamins, zinc, and vitamin C are the usual treatment for a low alkaline phosphatase.
- Get your thyroid hormones assessed. If the thyroid hormones are low, confer with an endocrinologist and start medications to restore hormone levels to normal.
- To manage pernicious anemia resulting from low levels of vitamin B 12, your doctor will advise you B12, B6 and folic acid supplements. Also, step up your daily intake of green leafy vegetables, egg, nuts, tomatoes, beet, carrots and dates.
- Low level of vitamin C is another important cause that is usually overseen; it manifests as – bleeding gums, anemia and exhaustion; this too triggers low alkaline phosphatase. Have a vitamin C supplement and boost your consumption of – limes, lemons, bell peppers and berries.
Excessive vitamin D in your body also causes low alkaline phosphatase. Ascertain the cause and consult your physician.