Reading the information available here and here, it's stated that both exercise and other injuries can cause elevated results on a couple of indicators commonly used to measure liver function. Specifically, it's noted that:

High levels of AST may be caused by:

  • [...]
  • Very strenuous exercise or severe injury to a muscle.


Some of the elevated LDH level causes include tissue damage due to trauma or disease, a recent heart attack, disease of the liver or the kidney or even the lungs, cancer, anemia, HIV, meningitis or encephalitis to name a few.

Which are fairly consistent but also a bit vague.

For instance, how strenuous must the exercise be to trigger a detectable increase? Are we talking about something on the order of running a marathon, or more like pushing things a bit too hard at the gym? And when it comes to injury/trauma, would superficial injuries like cuts, scrapes, and bruises be expected to have an effect, or must it be something more severe like a heart attack or other major internal injury? Lastly, what magnitude of increase would typically be attributable to "strenuous exercise or severe injury"?

1 Answer 1


Right now I can address the question on intensity, it seems that pushing things a bit too hard at the gym can cause elevated levels to trigger a detectable increase in AST and LDH, this is also dependent on how "fit" you are as well.

Exercise is known to contribute to increased levels of potassium, urea, creatinine, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, uric acid, as well as the white blood cell count. The amount of increase depends on several factors, including duration and intensity of exercise and the patient’s fitness level. One thing is clear: the less fit you are, the more vigorous and prolonged exercise may affect your results.

Source: https://www.biron.com/en/education-center/specialist-advice/impact-exercise/creatine-kinase/

Paper: Muscular exercise can cause highly pathological liver function tests in healthy men

Weightlifting results in profound increases in liver function tests in healthy men used to moderate physical activity, not including weightlifting. Liver function tests are significantly increased for at least 7 days after weightlifting. It is important to impose relevant restrictions on heavy muscular exercise prior to and during clinical studies.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17764474/

Paper: Elevated liver enzymes following polytraumatic injury

Currently I am not able to find any solid research if superficial injuries such as scrapes, cuts, or bruises cause elevated liver enzymes. However Traumatic Brain Injuries(TBI) and
Polytraumatic injuries, traumatic injuries that affect two or more body systems or organs, along with traumatic amputations, severe burns, orthopedic trauma and or damage to internal organs can cause liver enzymes to be elevated.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25479083/#:~:text=Regardless%20of%20demographics%2C%20mechanism%20of%20injury%2C%20or%20extent,most%20cases%2C%20no%20specific%20etiology%20was%20ever%20defined.

  • We need answers based on reputable sources, not personal anecdote.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 14:50
  • 1
    Understood, there are many research papers on this specific topic a google search away. I will make sure to edit my answer, remove the personal anecdote, and post the appropriate research paper.
    – kenai
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 14:52
  • Excellent; once you've done so, you can flag your answer as "in need of moderator intervention" so we are aware and can remove the post notice.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 14:53
  • 1
    Got it. Found some more interesting research on that question.
    – kenai
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 15:45
  • 1
    Nice answer! Welcome to the site :)
    – Narusan
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 19:51

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