Delta-ALA Porphyrin Urine Test

The Delta-ALA porphyrin urine test is a method to measure the quantity of delta-ALA in urine. It is one of the primary porphyria tests.

What is Delta-ALA Porphyrin Urine Test

Delta-ALA refers to the delta-aminolevulinic acid. Delta-ALA is a protein (amino acid) generated by the liver. It is a primary ingredient of the heme biopathway. A 24-hour urine sample is required to conduct this test. A recommendation for the test must be prescribed by your personal doctor.

How to prepare for Delta-ALA Porphyrin Urine Test

The physician will suggest you, if required, to stop drugs that will potentially compromise theresults of the test report. You should also ensure that the correct preservative is being facilitated in the collection jug. There are many porphyrin urine tests and all have their separate specified preservative.

A few things to keep in mind about the tests is that air, light and heat will influence the result of the test as these component will alleviate the porphyrin count in the sample. Be sure that the cap is correctly screwed onto the container to ward off the leakage of air or
light into the container.

Precaution to be taken for Delta-ALA Urine Test

  • Before starting this test, ensure that you are not on any kind of medication which may influence the test reports. Drugs that may catapult test measurements are oral contraceptives, barbiturates, penicillin, and griseofulvin.
  • Avoid the urine sample to be exposed to the direct light or heat. 
  • The best outcome for this test occurs when the urine is voided in complete darkness and poured into the collection jug in the dark or in a dim indirect light.

Preparation of Delta-ALA Urine Test for Infant

  • Thoroughly wash and clean the site beneath the lips of the vagina or the tip of the penis. Open the urine collection bag, and place it on your child.
  • For boys, the whole penis can be kept inside the bag and the gluey part could be attached to the skin.
  • For girls, the bag is put over the lips of the vagina.
  • Put a diaper over the infant.
  • The infant should be monitored off and on and the bag should be changed when the infant has urinated into the bag.
  • For hyperactive infants, this process may take a couple of attempts.
  • Drain the urine into the collection container to submit the same to the laboratory.
  • Similar to adults, the container should be refrigerated or stored in a cool place.
  • Deliver it to the laboratory or your health care specialist as early as possible upon completion of the entire process. 

How the Delta-ALA Porphyrin Urine Test is Conducted

  • On day 1, urinate into the lavatory upon getting up in the morning. Take all following urine in the specific plastic bag for the coming 24-hours.
  • On the next day urinate and retain the entire urine in the container in the wee hours upon arising. Cap the container tightly. Keep it in a cool place or in the refrigerator on 36 to 40 degrees F during the whole collection duration.
  • Put the label of your name, the date, the time of completion on the container and hand it over to your physician, as instructed by him.
  • Hand over the entire collection to the laboratory or your health care professional as early as possible upon completion of the collection process. 
  • Be sure that it is appropriately stored in refrigeration and not left out exposed to the heat and light. It would be better to walk with the lab technician to the storage room and also spare the time to confirm it will be transferred to the assaying lab, and expected time of reports. 
  • Be sure to strictly follow through on the test while the complete procedure to avoid the test is being compromised in any way.

Causes of Porphyria

Delta-ALA is a chemical created by amino acids in the liver. It is the primary "building block" for the integration of porphyrins. The most prominent work of porphyrins is as the element of heme. Heme is the important ingredients of hemoglobin. Several kinds of porphyrins is present with the same primary architecture but with little different chemical "side-chains". The major biochemical tract is:

  • delta-ALA
  • PBG
  • Uroporphyrin
  • Coproporphyrin
  • Protoporphyrin
  • Heme

Each step in the tract needs a certain enzyme. If any of the enzymes is defective, then a kind of porphyria occurs. Unusual enhancement in the levels of urinary delta-ALA may signal many kinds of porphyria. Apart from this, increased level may be a sign of lead poisoning. Decreased levels may happen with chronic liver disorder. A test can be conducted to evaluate the amount of this substance in your urine. 

How the Test Will Feel

The test is all about only normal urination hence there is no discomfort noticed or any other trouble witnessed.

Why the Test is performed

This test looks for augmented levels of delta-ALA. This test is helpful in determining specific liver disorders and is a good test for individual suspected of suffering with porphyria.

Normal Results

Basically, the normal level is 0 to 7 milligrams in 24 hours.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Enhanced levels of urinary delta-ALA may signal:

  • Lead poisoning
  • Porphyria (several types)

Decreased levels may occur with chronic liver disease.

Risks Factors Associated with Delta-ALA Urine Test

There are no risks linked with this type of urine test.