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What is alkaline phosphatase?

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Quick Answer

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found in many of the human body's tissues. It is most abundant in the cells of the liver and bones.

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Full Answer

Alkaline phosphatase helps the teeth and bones grow properly. It is also active in kidney and liver function. The normal range for alkaline phosphatase is 44 to 147 international units per liter, according to MedlinePlus.

A high level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood may indicate liver disease, bone disorders, leukemia, lymphoma or other problems with the bones or liver. Low levels of alkaline phosphatase have been linked to malnutrition, Wilson's disease and protein deficiency. The alkaline phosphatase blood test may be used to monitor the health of people with alcoholism, renal cell carcinoma, pancreatitis and gallstones.

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