Serum Amylase Levels in Metabolic Syndrome

Amylase in humans is mainly synthesized by the pancreas and salivary glands. Increased concentrations of serum amylase are associated with acute pancreatitis and other pancreatic disorders as well as mumps and bacterial parotitis. Persistent chronic inflammation often results in reduced serum amylase levels because tissues are destroyed in this process.
However, in recent studies it has been shown, that low serum amylase levels are associated with an increased prevalence for Metabolic Syndrome, diabetes, and NAFLD (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) in asymptomatic adults. Researchers assume that insulin resistance and fat accumulation may result in a decrease of serum amylase levels. Therefore, low serum amylase may be a marker for moderate or severe NAFLD.
The main application when measuring amylase is to support a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. Based on the findings that low serum amylase levels are independently associated with the metabolic syndrome and diabetes, measurement of this valuable marker should be also recommended in patients with metabolic abnormalities to better identify the individual risk.