What Foods Cause High Bilirubin Levels?

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There are no known foods that cause high levels of bilirubin, although indirect bilirubin levels can be increased by fasting for a long period, according to WebMD. High bilirubin levels may be caused by infections, inherited diseases, liver diseases, diseases that cause bile-duct blockage, sickle cell disease and certain medicines.

Infections, including cholecystitis or an infected gallbladder, can cause an elevation in the levels of bilirubin in the blood, as noted by WebMD. Gilbert’s syndrome and other inherited diseases can also affect the way that bilirubin is processed by the liver, causing elevated levels.

Mononucleosis, cirrhosis and hepatitis can all cause liver damage and elevated bilirubin levels, as can diseases that block the bile ducts, including pancreatic cancer and gallstones. The rapid destruction of red blood cells from allergic reactions during a blood transfusion or sickle cell anemia may also cause levels to increase. In addition, certain birth control pills, antibiotics and drugs such as Dilantin, Indocin and Valium are associated with an increase in bilirubin.

Normal total bilirubin levels in adults are 0.0 to 1.4 milligrams per deciliter, as reported by WebMD. Direct bilirubin levels of 0.0 to 0.3 mg/dL and indirect levels of 0.2 to 1.2 mg/dL are also acceptable. Caffeine use can lower bilirubin levels, but it may interfere with accurate testing results.