VITAMINS & MINERALS MARKERS
Albumin is a protein which is made in the liver and is a good indicator of liver or kidney disease. Albumin is a transport protein for several substances including calcium, zinc, free fatty acids and bilirubin. It also has important functional roles such as the transportation of hormones and drugs. It also helps to maintain the oncotic pressure within blood plasma and so prevents fluid from leaking out into the blood vessels unnecessarily. Albumin is the most abundant protein found in the blood.
Why take an Albumin blood test?
Albumin, along with alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin, gamma GT, globulin and total protein are tested to check the health of your liver. Test is analysed at our UK accredited lab and results are reviewed by a GP.
What role does Albumin play in the body?
Albumin plays several roles in the human body. The concentration of circulating albumin in the blood is directly associated with liver health as well as nutritional status. If the amount of circulating albumin is low, then this can be an indication of liver or renal damage.
Low albumin levels (AKA hypoalbuminemia) can also be a sign of malnutrition. The process of eating stimulates the production of albumin in the liver and keeps the amount of albumin in the blood at a regular level. However, malnutrition or individuals consuming a low protein diet may present with low levels.
Albumin levels can also affect calcium and other protein bound biomarker levels. In the blood, calcium is bound to proteins, mainly albumin. Therefore, if the albumin concentration is low then this can also reduce the total calcium concentration too but not the bioactive calcium. This is why an adjusted calcium is usually reported. There is some controversy between low albumin levels and the risk of osteoporosis. However, some scientific studies state that low albumin levels can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis particularly at the neck of femur (long thigh bone), hip and spine.