Delta-ALA is a protein (amino acid) produced by the liver. A test can be done to measure the amount of this substance in the urine.
Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any of your medicines before the test. Some drugs can interfere with the results.
To collect a sample from an infant:
Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking any medicines that can affect test results. These may include penicillin, barbiturates, birth control pills, and griseofulvin.
The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.
This test looks for increased levels of delta-ALA. It may be used to help diagnose porphyria.
In general, the normal range is 0 to 7 milligrams per 24 hours (some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens).
Normal value ranges may vary slightly from one lab to another. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Increased levels of urinary delta-ALA may indicate:
Decreased levels may occur with chronic liver disease.
There are no risks.
Anderson KE. The porphyrias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine.24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 217.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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