Delta-ALA is a protein (amino acid) produced by the liver. A test can be done to measure the amount of this substance in your urine.
Your health care provider will instruct you, if necessary, to stop taking drugs that may interfere with the test. A 24-hour urine sample is needed.
Thoroughly wash and rinse the area between the lips of the vagina or the head of the penis. Open the urine collection bag (the plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the lips of the vagina.
Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all). The infant should be checked frequently and the bag changed after the infant has urinated into the bag. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts. Drain the urine into the container for transport to the laboratory. As with adults, the container must be kept refrigerated.
Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care provider as soon as possible upon completion.
Avoid exposure of the urine to direct light.
Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking any drugs that may affect test results. Such drugs include penicillin, barbiturates, birth control pills, and griseofulvin.
The test involves only normal urination and 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.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Increased levels of urinary delta-ALA may indicate:
Decreased levels may occur with chronic liver disease.
There are no risks.
Wiley JS, Moore MR. Heme biosynthesis and its disorders: porphyrias and sideroblastic anemias. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 38.