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What are the functions of alkaline phosphatase?

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Quick Answer

Alkaline phosphatase is responsible for breaking down proteins in the body, according to Healthline. This enzyme appears in different forms depending on where it is produced in the body. Most alkaline phosphatase is produced in the liver.

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Full Answer

The enzyme is found in the bloodstream, Healthline says. In addition to the liver, alkaline phosphatase is produced in the bones, kidneys and intestines.

A blood test for alkaline phosphatase levels can determine whether a patient has liver, gallbladder or bone disease, Healthline states. Some doctors require the test to make sure medication is not damaging the liver. The test is also routine for determining liver function.

High enzyme levels may indicate diseases like hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, Healthline says. Other conditions linked to high alkaline phosphatase include problems with bile ducts, including cancer, as well as gallbladder inflammation.

The alkaline phosphatase test can also determine bone conditions, such as vitamin D deficiency, tumors and unusual bone growth, Healthline states. It can also determine rickets and Paget's disease.

A normal alkaline phosphatase level for an non-pregnant adult is 25 to 100 units per liter of blood and 350 for children, notes Healthline. Pregnant women may have higher levels because alkaline phosphatase is produced in the placenta.

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