What Does It Mean to Have High or Low Albumin Levels?

Albumin is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Since the liver creates albumin, it is a part of the liver panel and plays a significant role in diagnosing hepatic disease. Serum albumin tests measure the concentration of this protein in the blood.

When albumin levels are normal, the blood stays in the blood vessels without leaking, and the hormones and nutrients are transported in the blood without a problem.

Albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) is the first method of preference to detect elevated protein. The recommended method to evaluate albuminuria is to measure urinary ACR in a spot urine sample. ACR is calculated by dividing albumin concentration in milligrams by creatinine concentration in grams.

What is Albumin?

Albumin is the most abundant and probably the most important protein in the blood. Around 60% of the blood protein is albumin. Hepatocytes synthesize the protein in the liver. After that, it is released into the bloodstream. Every day we get up to 15 grams of new albumin proteins synthesized by the liver. The organ may also store albumin but in a very small proportion.

The functions of albumin in the blood are twofold. It is a carrier protein that transports substances in the blood. Thus, it is useful to take nutrients, drugs, and hormones from one place to another. Serum albumin is also helpful to modulate the oncotic pressure in the blood vessels. In other words, it keeps liquids inside the blood vessel and prevents serum from leaking out.

Measuring albumin levels in the blood is helpful to evaluate liver function. It is particularly useful to assess the ability of the liver to synthesize vital substances for body homeostasis.

Written by Martin Davis