Specimen Requirements


Aminolaevulinic Acid (ALA), Urine

Specimen Requirement

Random urine/1.2 mL minimum refrigerated in a screw-capped plastic urine cup.




Refrigerated: 4 days; Frozen: 1 month

Reference Range

By Report*


4-8 days Performed Mon, Wed, Fri

Clinical Use

Diagnose porphyrias: delta-ALA may be increased in attacks of acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria, and porphyria variegata; evaluation of certain neurological problems with abdominal pain; diagnosis of lead or mercury poisoning. Urinary delta-ALA is not a sensitive indicator of lead poisoning in children because it does not increase until blood lead concentration is 40 ug/dL, well above the recommended level of <15 ug/dL. ALA is increased also in tyrosinemia. Porphobilinogen and delta aminolevulinic acid are the tests of choice for acute intermittent porphyria. Recently the molecular lesions have been identified in a severely affected homozygote with delta aminolevulinate dehydratase deficient porphyria.

Test Code