Solving the Mystery of Liver Enzyme Tests: Your Guide to Interpreting SGOT

22 Mar 2024

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by seeing a series of unfamiliar terms on your medical report? Especially when it comes to liver enzyme tests, terms like SGOT can seem like a foreign language. Simply put, SGOT is a type of liver enzyme and a crucial biomarker that doctors use to examine how well your liver is functioning.

While feeling anxious about understanding these medical terminologies is normal, there’s no need to fret. We are here to help you get a handle on it. This blog sheds light on the significance of SGOT levels and what they mean for your health. Understanding this topic is essential because your SGOT levels can indicate if any damage or disease is affecting your liver.

So, let’s delve deeper into the realm of liver enzyme tests and specifically look at what these SGOT levels imply. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clearer picture of how to interpret your test results and what steps you could take next based on them.

The SGOT Symphony: A Primer 

Your body runs like clockwork, with each component playing its part. One such vital player is an enzyme known as SGOT (Serum Glutamic-Oxaloacetic Transaminase). This enzyme, found primarily in your liver and heart, also exists in muscles and red blood cells. SGOT is alternately known as Aspartate transaminase (AST). 

Now, you might be wondering why you should care about SGOT or AST levels. Well, your doctor might recommend a liver enzyme test if you exhibit symptoms that suggest a problem with your liver. Understanding the levels of this enzyme can provide valuable insights into how your liver is functioning. 

Did you know? In 2015, India contributed to 18.3% of the 2 million global deaths caused by liver diseases. 

The Score Sheet: Interpreting SGOT Levels 

So, what should be the normal range for SGOT? Typically, labs consider anywhere between 14 and 20 units per litre (U/L) as the normal range for males and 10 to 36 U/L for females. But remember, these numbers might slightly differ from lab to lab due to variations in test procedures. If your SGOT value falls within this bracket, you’re generally considered to have a healthy liver. 

The Disquiet in the Orchestra: Causes for High SGOT

An array of factors can cause high SGOT or AST levels. These include: 

  • Strenuous physical activity,
  • Usage of certain medications or supplements,
  • Drinking alcohol excessively,
  • Consuming a diet high in unhealthy fats, or 
  • Certain diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis or heart failure. 

Discussing these factors with your doctor to comprehensively understand your results is important. 

The Path to Harmony: Reducing SGOT Levels

Posterior view of a woman practising yoga in the heart of nature.

Now that we know what causes high levels, how can we bring about harmony? It begins with identifying and treating the root cause of the elevated enzyme level. This could mean lifestyle changes, medication or even surgery in some cases. Finally, just like any good orchestra, continuous monitoring is key to ensuring everything stays in tune. Regular liver enzyme tests can help assess the impact of any treatment you might be undergoing and ensure that things are on the right track.

The significance of SGOT: SGPT Ratio 

It’s not just the individual SGOT or AST level that matters, but also its ratio to another liver enzyme called SGPT (serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase). This is referred to as the SGOT: SGPT ratio. Values above 2 are often indicative of cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. However, this metric is not definitive and should be considered besides other test results and symptoms. 

A Brief Recap 

To sum it up, understanding your liver enzyme test, especially the connection between AST and liver health, is like reading your body’s quiet, biological language. Grasping the intricacies of this language – the potential implications of elevated AST levels – is undoubtedly an empowering step towards being an active participant in your healthcare journey. It’s not about medical expertise but about fostering a mindful relationship with your health – understanding when it’s time to celebrate good results or when it might be necessary to seek further medical advice. 

At TatvaCare.in, we are committed to translating complex medical data into more digestible information that empowers you to confidently embrace your healthcare journey. Remember, early detection of any changes in your SGOT and AST levels will enable timely intervention, potentially preventing serious consequences. So, never hesitate to get in touch with us or utilise our resources to learn more about your health. Together, let’s ensure your liver is functioning at its best.


Q. What is the function of SGOT in the body?

A: The primary function of SGOT is to facilitate the conversion of amino acids, specifically aspartate, aiding in protein metabolism.

Q. How does an SGOT test work?

A: An SGOT test is a simple blood test ordered by your doctor. A healthcare expert will draw blood from the vein on your arm and send it to a lab to obtain the levels of the SGOT enzyme in your bloodstream.

Q. Can elevated SGOT indicate conditions other than liver disease?

A: Absolutely. While high SGOT and liver disease are linked, they can also be a sign of other conditions, such as heart disease or muscle disorders. Consequently, an elevated reading should not be taken as definitive proof of liver issues.

Q. Are there any symptoms that might suggest I need an SGOT test?

A: Yes, several symptoms might prompt your doctor to order an SGOT test, such as jaundice, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain and swelling, and dark urine.

Q. How can I maintain healthy AST levels?

A: To maintain healthy AST levels, balance your diet with nutritious foods and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Also, consider exercising regularly to keep your liver fit.

About the Author

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Krunal Chaudhari

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