Our bodies are composed of different cellular components, energies, movements, processes, and functions which all complement each other in a harmonious system. Our bodies continue to amaze us year after year as more discoveries on humankind become available for us to have a better understanding of our bodies. Learning about our body is a never-ending process, it will only stop if mankind will cease to exist.
Along with this curiosity of how our body functions and adapts to external and internal stimuli are discoveries being unraveled simultaneously in the name of science and technology. Nowadays, we can now resort to using radiology or electromagnetic therapies to capture physiological activities in our brain with mere instruments attached to our heads.
We are now also able to track almost all important factors in our bodies through our cell phones using fitness or health wearables. These kinds of devices monitor our internal and external activities in real-time like the heartbeat, heart rate, our sleeping patterns, how many steps were taken each day. Data from these devices will lead us to discern whether you are at risk for certain heart-related or blood-pressure diseases.
Amazingly enough, we can now detect cancer with the use of a pen. How interesting it is that through rapid intraoperative cancer detection, cells that are displaying the same symptoms of cancer cells are easily identified separately from the healthy ones.
These are mere examples of how advanced and progressive man is in pursuit of the science of the human body. It is not a surprise that there is always something to discover about our bodies every day. It is because of this pursuit and with the help of technological advancements that we can identify key components in the body which are indicators of health risks. One of these is Gamma-glutamyltransferase.
The Power of GGT
GGT is a type of enzyme found in the liver that will help in the movement of molecules to the recipient in the body. This is carried either through an amino acid, water or a peptide. The role of GGT is critical to the process of synthesis and the creation of a route for the breakdown of glutathione which enables the detoxification of the liver. Besides this, the level of GGT in your body is essential to detect and use as a diagnostic marker of a person’s health, most especially the liver health. It is a cell surface glycoprotein that directly impacts the break down of glutathione-S-conjugated electrophiles.
It’s highest activity levels are found in the liver, pancreas, and kidney.
What are the main roles of GGT?
Before diving deep into each organ and aspect that GGT touches on, let’s discuss shortly what it does mainly. Being secreted by the liver, GGT is considered as the regulator of chemicals in the body. It is responsible for managing the level of chemicals in the blood. Besides this, it functions as:
- The highway of amino acids to transfer from one membrane to another for the absorption of the body
- It allows optimum metabolic performance
- GGT is critical in the disbursement of glutamyl moiety in the body for the breakdown of glutathione in the liver
- GGT functions as a diagnostic marker for liver diseases as well as other illnesses in the body.
- It is also used as an indicator of abnormalities in the body’s cardiovascular activity
- It enables the catalytic transfer or y-glutamyl groups to form amino acids and short peptides
- It is responsible for the hydrolysis or the chemical process wherein water is added to a molecule
GGT for the Liver
GGT was discovered initially for its property of detecting alcohol-related diseases in the liver. First, let us discuss why the liver is important:
- It is the main and only organ in the body that produces bile. Bile is a yellow or orange fluid that is responsible for breaking down fat. After this, the byproduct is readily absorbed and digested by the body.
- It facilitates the transfer of medicine to the bloodstream so that it is easily absorbed by the body
- It enables the creation of blood plasma through the regulation of protein in the blood
- It distributes energy which comes from fat by producing cholesterol and other proteins
- It synthesizes hemoglobin for iron production
- It cleans the bloodstream and eradicates bacteria
- It produces glucose by breaking down sugar in the body
How GGT Functions for the Liver
The liver is the natural detoxifier of your whole body. As it metabolizes fats, proteins, and crabs, it takes quite a hit on the daily. Especially when you are an alcohol drinker. However, as much as it works, it also heals just as fast. However, too much intake of alcohol, medicines, and even vitamins can make a dent in this natural machine.
This is where GGT comes in. Liver damage at an early stage can seldom be detected by blood work. Diseases like cirrhosis and others are hard to identify. However, because of GGT and Alkaline Phosphatase, problems in the liver are now easier to detect by imaging. Levels of GGT in your body should be kept in check as this helps determine whether or not you are at risk of contracting liver and bile obstructions.
GGT for the Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system, otherwise known as the circulatory system, has a complex pathway of arteries, capillaries, and veins that allows life to be pumped into your body. Some of the major parts of the cardiovascular system are the heart, blood vessels and the blood which all help in transporting nutrients throughout the body.
- Functions of the heart
– The right atrium of the heart is the receiver of low-oxygen blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle
– The low-oxygen blood from the right ventricle is passed on to the lungs
– The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle
– The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood into the body
- Functions of the blood vessels
– These carry oxygenated blood to the rest of the body from the heart
– Helps push blood in the circulatory system
– Keeps blood pressure consistent
– It also carries deoxygenated blood to and fro the heart
– It allows the exchange of compounds with other surrounding tissues like C02, 02, H20 and other nutrients.
- Functions of the blood
– Is the main transportation system of oxygen, nutrients, and minerals throughout the body
– It forms blood clots to prevent blood loss during injury
– It carries cells and antibodies that fight infection
– It brings waste products to the liver and kidney to have them cleaned
– Acts as a regulator of temperature
How GGT Functions for the Cardiovascular System
Cardiovascular diseases are as real as they can get— these cause an increase in mortality rates in some countries. The risk of having cardiac diseases can be proven to be fatal. People who have experienced a stroke, heart attacks, and heart blood clotting are victims of cardiac diseases.
It is a fortunate thing that GGT has also been discovered in the pathogenesis of the development of diseases in the heart, blood vessels, and the blood. Like the liver, it is a known fact that cardiovascular diseases may now be detected through the monitoring of GGT levels.
GGT levels are directly related to cardiovascular chronic diseases in that an elevated level has been deemed to be an independent indicator of coronary artery diseases, heart failure, and hypertension. This is done through the analysis of blood lipid levels.
GGT for the Detection of Cancer
Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the body. It is also called malignancy. Cancer comes in over 100 forms. Throughout a person’s life, our cells divide and multiply to replace older cells. When cancer happens, the growth and production of these new cells increase to an uncontrollable rate. At this point, it is called a tumor. However, not all tumors are cancerous.
Cancer continues to spread and multiply uncontrollably through the process of metastasis. This happens when malignant cells outgrow the healthy cells and distribute the malignant cells throughout the body which will cause it to interfere with other bodily functions. Some major types of cancer are:
- Leukemia – cancer in the bone marrow
- Lymphoma – cancer in the lymph nodes
- Carcinoma – cancer of the linings in the liver or kidney
- Sarcoma – scattered cancer
- Melanoma – skin cancer
How GGT Functions Against Cancer
In a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, it was reported that there is a strong association between levels of GGT in the blood and the detection of cancer type carcinoma. Gamma-glutamyl levels in the 874 patients were analyzed. After analysis, those with higher levels of GGT in their bodies were diagnosed with a lower chance of surviving their cancer. Although there was no association with how advanced the stage of the tumor was, the high levels of GGT were found to manifest the risk of carcinoma progressing to a higher grade.
Additionally, the same study examined 692 patients who had cervical cancer. In the same way, GGT serum levels were analyzed and had a strong connection with the stage of cancer as well as the age— the relationship between GGT levels and cancer stages was undeniable.
The study also furthers that higher levels of GGT are associated with an increased risk of cancer. In the study of 92,983 females, the risk for cancer was at higher levels mirroring the high levels of GGT in the body.
GGT for the Detection of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic-progressive disease in which your blood sugar levels are to the roof. Sugar is from the food you eat in the form of carbohydrates, sugar, and complex carbs. To help regulate the levels of sugar in the body, insulin is a hormone that helps convert it into energy. Diabetes can either be genetic or acquired through lifestyle. There are two known types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes
In this type of diabetes, your body no longer produces insulin. Specifically, the pancreas can longer sustain the production of insulin at levels that would help convert sugar into usable energy. This is the type of diabetes usually acquired by children and young adults.
- Type 2 Diabetes
This type, on the other hand, would indicate that your body still produces insulin, however, it does not know how to use it well. This is the type of diabetes usually common with older people.
How GGT Functions Against Diabetes
For diabetes, the correlation between GGT levels and the risk of having diabetes is not that strong although it is somewhat associated. In a study conducted involving 7,976 participants, higher GGT serum levels were indeed associated with diabetes not considering alcohol levels, BMI, hypertension, and other factors. The study was done through the ingest of fasting glucose versus non-fasting glucose.
GGT is an enzyme that could be used in the prognosis of different diseases like diabetes, cancer and liver diseases. Earlier detection or even the slightest risk of fatal diseases should be detected earlier on— GGT is an accurate measurement for this.