Blood test

Normal amylase level in the blood

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Normal amylase level in the blood

What is the normal level of amylase in the blood?

Adults 28 – 100 U/L

In the International System of Units (SI), the amylase in the blood is measured in ukat/l. The normal amylase level in the blood in the SI is:

Adults 0.48 – 1.7 ukat/l

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for the amylase in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.

Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.

There are some circumstances that may alter the normal ranges:

  • In newborns amylase level in the blood is lower than in adults until they get 1 year.
  • The normal amylase values may be higher in older people and during pregnancy.

What is the role of amylase in the body?

Amylase in an enzyme that is present mainly in the pancreas where is synthetized by the acinar cells and then secreted into the intestine via the pancreatic duct.

The salivary glands also secreted salivary amylase that starts the starch hydrolysis during the chewing process.

Amylase can also be found in small amount in the liver, the ovaries and the fallopian tubes.

Technically, it is more adequate to name the amylase in plural because there are different types of amylases such as alpha-amylase (α-amylase), la beta- amylase (β-amylase) y la gamma- amylase (γ-amylase).

The main utility of amylase is to break down carbohydrates of the gastrointestinal tract into smaller sugar molecules.

Some diseases can produce an elevation of the alpha-amylase in serum such as acute pancreatitis, mumps, alcoholism, kidney failure, viral hepatitis, HIV and abdominal trauma.

In the case of acute pancreatitis the amylase level in the blood increases about 5 or 6 hours later of the first symptoms. Amylase remains high for about 2 to 5 days. The amount increased in the blood it is not correlated with the severity of the disease. It is possible to suffer a serious pancreatic damage without an increase in the pancreatic amylase in the blood.

Alpha amylase is excreted by the kidney by glomerular filtration and later is reabsorbed in a 50% by the renal tubules. The reabsorption will be diminished in case of damage to the renal tubules. This can be the case after burns, diabetic ketoacidosis or acute pancreatitis. The reabsortion can be also diminished in case of proteinuria where there is an increase in the excretion of the alpha amylase.

Alpha amylase can also be measured in the urine. This can be helpful in the existence of hyperamylasemia associated with macroamylasemia or kidney failure.

Hypoamylasemia (low amylasemia level in the blood) can be a sign of cystic fibrosis, severe liver disease or pancreatectomy. In case of obesity, amylase can be low due to a reduction in the salivary amylase.

What is the amylase blood test used for?

The amylase blood test is ordered when a person has acute abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting.

The amylase level in the blood is a marker of the functionality of the pancreas. The pancreas is an essential body organ because it secretes digestive enzymes that break down fats and proteins and regulates the body’s sugar level.

If an inflammation of the pancreas is present, what is called pancreatitis, the amount of amylase secreted to the blood increases significantly.

The elevation of the amylase in the blood can be useful for the diagnosis of:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Perforated peptic ulcer
  • Mumps
  • Macroamylasemia

Liver, gallbladder or salivary glands problems may increase the amylase level in the blood.

Low level of amylase in the blood is not common. It may be related to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, an excessive consumption of carbohydrates or fat intolerance.

Where can I find more information about amylase in the blood?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a normal amylase level in the blood?

The following values are considered to be normal values:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in U/L. They are an example of a healthy man of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

Amylase
Status
Normality
28 U/l29 U/l30 U/l31 U/l32 U/l33 U/l34 U/l35 U/l
36 U/l37 U/l38 U/l39 U/l40 U/l41 U/l42 U/l43 U/l
44 U/l45 U/l46 U/l47 U/l48 U/l49 U/l50 U/l51 U/l
52 U/l53 U/l54 U/l55 U/l56 U/l57 U/l58 U/l59 U/l
60 U/l61 U/l62 U/l63 U/l64 U/l65 U/l66 U/l67 U/l
68 U/l69 U/l70 U/l71 U/l72 U/l73 U/l74 U/l75 U/l
76 U/l77 U/l78 U/l79 U/l80 U/l81 U/l82 U/l83 U/l
84 U/l85 U/l86 U/l87 U/l88 U/l89 U/l90 U/l91 U/l
92 U/l93 U/l94 U/l95 U/l96 U/l97 U/l98 U/l99 U/l
100 U/l       
foto de Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante
Written by

Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante

Last update: 27/03/2020

Bibliography

  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 519.
  • Junge W, Wortmann W, Wilke B, Waldenstrom J, Weittenhiller A, Finke J, Klein G, Development and evaluation of assays for the determination of total and pancreatic amylase at 37°C according to the principle recommended by the IFCC. Clin Biochem 2001;34:607-615.
  • Lorentz K. Alpha-Amylase. In: Thomas L, hrsg. Labor und Diagnose. Indikation und Bewertung von Laborbefunden für die Medizinische Diagnostik. Frankfurt/Main: TH-Books Verlagsgesellschaft, 2005:51-56.
  • Tietz NW, ed. Clinical guide to laboratory tests, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company,1995:47pp.
  • Moss DW, Henderson RA. Clinical Enzymology. In: Burtis CA, Ashwood ER, eds. Tietz textbook of clinical chemistry. Philadelphia:WB Saunders Company, 1999; 689-692.
  • Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE). Version 5.0.Published: November 27, 2017. U.S. Department of health and human Services. Disponible en: https://ctep.cancer.gov

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