Bile Acid Testing

Bile acids testing can aid diagnosis of cholestasis,
portosystemic shunt and bile acids malabsorption.

Bile acids are synthesised in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When food is consumed, bile acids are secreted into the intestine where they facilitate the formation of micelles and promote processing of dietary fat.

Increased bile acids in fasting or postprandial state are considered a specific indicator of liver disease and decreased levels are associated with bile acid malabsorption.


Bile Acids for Obstetric Choleostasis

Obstetric Cholestasis is a liver condition where the flow of bile down the liver bile ducts is reduced and leaks into the blood stream. This increase in serum bile acids causes persistent itching, which in many cases may be the only symptom.

Whilst OC is more common in women carrying twins, triplets or more, it also seems to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. OC may often go undiagnosed and the condition is still not fully understood.

OC itching can begin in the second trimester but is more common in the third when hormone concentrations are at their highest. In addition to the discomfort to the mother, OC can also pose a risk to the unborn child.

Women with OC are closely monitored as this condition may presentincreased risk of foetal distress, premature labour and still birth. The clinician may decide to induce labour and deliver the baby early in severe cases, typically when serum bile acids reach 40 μmol/L.


If you need to determine Total Bile Acid to help diagnose OC, the Dialab kit is a good reliable choice and is used in many UK laboratories. The kit employs an enzymatic recycling method suitable for assaying both plasma and serum.

The reagents are liquid stable and the assay can be readily automated. Linearity is up to 180 μmol/L.