Albumin: Function & Associated Diseases – SelfDecode Labs

Albumin is a blood protein that delivers vitamins, minerals, and medications all around the body. It is frequently tested because it can provide crucial clues about your overall health. Read on to learn more about this important protein, what high and moo values mean, and how to improve your health based on your albumin levels .

What is Albumin?

Albumin Definition

Albumin is the most abundant protein in human blood, accounting for 50 to 60 % of all the protein in the blood. It ’ s made by the liver, circulates throughout the soundbox in blood, and a very small sum may pass through healthy kidneys into urine [ 1 ].

What Albumin Does and How It Functions

Albumin maintains the osmotic pressure that pulls water into the circulatory system. The imperativeness inside blood vessels exerted by pumping of the affection ( hydrostatic pressure ) creates a storm to push fluids out of veins and arteries into the surrounding tissue. Albumin prevents this by drawing fluids in due to osmosis. Albumin binds hormones, vitamins, drugs, fatty acids, minerals, and early substances in the blood, carries them throughout the body, and delivers them to body tissues. Albumin has many locations where substances can attach to. Albumin is also the main antioxidant in blood. It works by binding with metals and reacting with complimentary radicals, which prevents them from reacting with other parts of the body and causing damage [ 2 ] .

Albumin Is Different Than Prealbumin

Despite the similarity in the names, prealbumin is not a precursor of albumin. Transthyretin is a more advanced name for prealbumin. It ’ s a completely different protein that is found in human lineage, spinal anesthesia fluent, and inside the eyes. It occurs in lower concentrations in rake than albumin and is primarily creditworthy for moving thyroid hormones and vitamin A around the torso .

Albumin Blood Test

An albumin blood quiz measures the sum of albumin in the blood. Low albumin is common in many health problems, so albumin levels are frequently checked in junction with other tests to help diagnose diseases, determine if other tests are needed, or to check if treatments for a stipulate are working. An albumin rake examination is a standard character of the following sets of blood tests :

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) for an overall picture of health
  • Liver Function Panel to assess inflammation, infection, or liver damage and disease
  • Total Protein to check nutrition, general health, or to diagnose liver and kidney diseases
  • Renal Panel to diagnose or monitor kidney conditions

Normal Levels

The demand range for convention albumin levels depends on the particular lab that performs the rake test, however, it is normally around 3.5 to 5.6 g/dL or 35 to 56 g/L .

Low Albumin

A low albumin floor is anything that falls below the normal range as defined by the lab performing the examination, normally less than 3.5 g/dL or 35 g/L. The condition of having low albumin is called hypoalbuminemia. however, a resultant role that ’ s lower than normal, doesn ’ metric ton necessarily mean that you have a health condition needing discussion. Your doctor will interpret your albumin solution, taking into report your aesculapian history, symptoms, and other quiz results. Low albumin levels are seen in a wide range of health problems, including diabetes, cancer, and liver disease, and are primarily a result of illness quite than a cause [ 3 ]. Albumin levels can be used as a standard of how severe an illness is, with lower levels associated with worse outcomes [ 4 ] .

Causes of Low Levels

Causes shown here are normally associated with depleted albumin levels. work with your doctor or another health worry professional to get an accurate diagnosis .

1) Chronic Illness, Infection, and Inflammation

The most common cause of low albumin is inflammation. When illness or injury occurs, the body responds with inflammation and channel resources into the output of proteins that help defend the body, such as the C-reactive protein ( CRP ). As the liver increases the production of CRP ( and other proteins of the immune system ), it decreases the production of albumin [ 5, 6 ]. Cancerous tumors cause inflammation, which results in lowered albumin levels. The larger and/or more widespread the tumors, the larger the inflammatory reception and the lower albumin levels dismiss [ 7 ]. low albumin can besides be caused by escape from blood vessels if they are damaged or become more permeable, particularly during injury, inflammation, and sepsis [ 3 ] .

2) Malnutrition

Although malnutrition or inadequate protein consumption was thought to play an important character in low albumin levels ( and continues to be cited in popular articles on the subject ), more recent inquiry has established that first gear albumin can occur without malnutrition, and malnourished individuals normally do not have low albumin levels. The exception is Kwashiorkor, a mannequin of protein malnutrition seen in famines that is highly rare in the train world [ 8, 9 ] .

3) Liver Disease

Because albumin is produced in the liver, liver diseases that interrupt albumin production can cause low levels [ 10, 11 ] .

4) Kidney Disease

In healthy people, the loss of albumin in the urine is minimal. however, when the kidneys are not working by rights, the kidneys release a lot more albumin into the urine. This is called albuminuria. That ’ second why blood albumin levels dismiss in kidney disease [ 10, 11 ] .

5) Protein-Losing Enteropathy

Protein-losing enteropathy is a condition in which a batch of protein, including albumin, is being lost in the gut. This can happen in conditions such as coeliac and Crohn ’ mho disease, but besides in some non-gut related disorders, such as Lupus [ 12, 10, 11, 13 ] .

6) Heart Failure

low albumin is common in people with heart failure. It results as a combination of diverse factors including excitement, blood dilution, impaired liver function, and protein-losing enteropathy [ 10 ] .

7) Severe Burns

Severe burns price blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Blood fluid oozes through these wounds and albumin is lost with it, resulting in lowered albumin levels [ 10, 14 ]. Albumin levels are used to determine how dangerous burns are because the more extensive the burns are, the lower albumin levels fall [ 15 ] .

8) Pregnancy

Anything that increases the fluid volume inside blood vessels, including pregnancy or receiving a large issue of fluids intravenously, can besides decrease blood albumin levels [ 16 ] .

9) Some Genetic Disorders

Some mutations and variants of the albumin gene ( ALB ) besides result in gloomy albumin levels [ 17 ]. congenital analbuminemia is a rare, recessive genetic condition that results in identical low albumin levels. Most individuals with this condition are relatively healthy, but they may develop swelling, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, or respiratory tract infections [ 18 ] .

Increasing Albumin

The most significant thing is to work with your doctor of the church to find out what ’ randomness causing your low albumin and to treat any underlie conditions. Low albumin levels are normally a symptom preferably than a campaign of illness, so treatment must, therefore, target the underlying cause. If albumin levels are below the normal range, a doctor may request far testing to check kidney and liver officiate.

Discuss the life style changes listed below with your doctor. none of these strategies should ever be done in seat of what your doctor recommends or order ! Make surely your diet is goodly and well balanced. It ’ mho authoritative that you are getting enough protein. Animal protein can increase albumin output, while vegetable protein ( such as soy protein ) can decrease the loss of albumin through urine. choose list, high-quality proteins whenever potential, including organic and hormone-free pisces, and turkey [ 13, 19, 20 ]. Lose burden if you are corpulence. fleshiness is associated with chronic inflammation, which can lower albumin [ 21 ]. Get your commend 6-8h of rest each nox. Extremes in sleep duration ( < 5h and > 9h ) have been associated with increase loss of albumin through urine [ 22 ]. practice regularly. use stimulates albumin output [ 23, 24, 25 ]. You can besides indirectly increase albumin by reducing chronic excitement, as measured by the inflammatory markers c-reactive protein and interleukin-6 .

High Levels

A high albumin degree is anything that falls above the normal crop as defined by the lab performing the screen, normally more than 5.6 g/dL or 56 g/L. The condition of having senior high school albumin is called hyperalbuminemia. however, a result that ’ s higher than normal, doesn ’ t necessarily mean that you have a health discipline needing treatment. Your doctor of the church will interpret your albumin result, taking into explanation your checkup history, symptoms, and other test results .

Causes of High Levels

Severe or chronic dehydration is a common cause of high albumin levels in blood tests because the sum fluid volume of blood is decreased in dehydration while the amount of albumin stays the same. dehydration can occur due to conditions such as severe vomit and diarrhea, for case [ 13, 26 ]. In addition, there are several studies that have found a liaison between insulin resistance and higher blood albumin levels [ 27, 28, 29 ]. high blood albumin levels are associated with insulin resistance, but on its own, a high gear albumin level doesn ’ metric ton predict the development of character 2 diabetes. In fact, one study of 15,428 human subjects found that individuals whose rake albumin levels increased the most over the 5-year study period had the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes [ 27, 30 ] .

Decreasing Albumin

bring with your sophisticate to find out what ’ sulfur causing your high albumin and to treat any underlying conditions. Make certain you are drinking batch of fluids. In addition, limit your alcohol inhalation, as it can cause dehydration [ 31, 32 ] .

Albumin/Globulin Ratio

The albumin/globulin ratio, or A/G, is partially of the Total Protein blood test. It measures the amount of albumin in rake proportional to all the other proteins, jointly called globulins. The globulin horizontal surface is calculated by subtracting the albumin from total protein .

Normal Ratio

The exact normal range for albumin/globulin will depend on the citation scope of the lab that performs the screen, however, it ’ s normally between 1.1 and 2.5. In cases where albumin levels screen low because of more fluid circle in blood vessels, the albumin/globulin ratio will still be convention because all proteins are diluted evenly. Read more about the albumin/globulin ratio hera .

Albumin Urine Test

In a healthy body, albumin passes through the kidneys but international relations and security network ’ metric ton transferred into the urine. evening in the earliest stages of kidney disease, the kidneys may allow albumin to pass into the urine where it can be measured with a urine test, called a microalbumin test or albumin/ creatinine proportion. The test can be done on a single sample, known as a spot collection, or on a series of urine samples collected over 24 hours, called a 24-hour urine test. Chronic conditions like diabetes and gamey rake imperativeness can increase the risk of developing kidney disease, so people with these conditions are usually given a microalbumin test every year to check their kidney function [ 33 ] .

Albumin/Creatinine Ratio

The concentration of albumin in the urine can vary depending on the book of urine output ( it may test higher with low urine bulk, or lower with high volume ). To correct for this, a waste product of muscle metabolism, called creatinine, is besides measured. Creatinine is passed into urine at a known, constant rate, so its concentrations in different volumes of urine are predictable. By controlling for urine volume in this way, the proportion of albumin to creatinine is a more accurate measure of how much albumin is in the urine .

Ranges for Albumin/Creatinine Ratio

An albumin-creatinine ratio of less than 30 mg/g is considered normal to mildly increased, and it normally indicates kidney serve is healthy. A result between 30 – 300 mg/g is considered moderately increased. If reasonably increased results are found on recur urine tests given over a period of 3 months, it may indicate early stages of kidney disease. A solution greater than 300 mg/g is considered sternly increased, and may be an index of progress kidney disease .

Albumin in Diseases and Disorders


Ascites is a condition in which fluids accumulate between the membrane that lines the abdominal wall and the membrane that encompasses the inner organs ( this quad is called the peritoneal cavity ). It normally occurs as a leave of liver disease or cancer that has spread around the body [ 34 ]. Ascites has several possible causes, one of which is low albumin levels. Because there is less albumin in the blood to maintain the osmotic coerce inside the vessels, fluids diffuse out of vessels into the peritoneal cavity.

Heart Disease

In a study of 4.5k people ( Framingham Offspring Study ), lower albumin levels were associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease over the following 20+ years [ 35 ]. In another learn of 2.9k people, lower service line albumin levels were associated with a higher risk of having heart failure over the following 9 years [ 36 ] .

Therapeutic Uses of Albumin

Albumin-containing solution is much used in clinical practice. It has been used to [ 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 ] :

  • increase blood volume
  • treat sepsis
  • treat and prevent ascites
  • help in the treatment of liver disease (especially in the later stages)
  • reduce problems in blood circulation
  • help in plasmapheresis (removal, treatment, and return or exchange of blood plasma or blood components from and to the blood circulation)
  • reduce the risk of death in patients with infections
  • treat bacterial infections that occur in the fluid that builds up between membranes in the abdominal cavity
  • prevent kidney failure
  • help in extensive skin burns
  • help treat of malnutrition
  • help in kernicterus (a form of brain damage caused by too much of a compound called bilirubin)
  • help in graft versus host disease
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