Albumin is a type of protein made by the liver. Albumin helps maintain fluids in the bloodstream and transport vitamins and nutrients throughout the body.
Having normal albumin levels is associated with good health. Low levels of albumin can indicate a problem with the liver or kidneys. So your doctor can send you a test to verify its operation.
This article describes what albumin is, its function, and how to interpret the values of a blood test.
What is albumin, and what is its function?
Albumin is a family of globular proteins, the most common are serum albumins.
In the human body, albumins are found chiefly in blood plasma and differ from other blood proteins in that they are not glycosylated (they do not have carbohydrates).
In foods like eggs, albumins are the primary sources of protein.
Albumin’s primary function is to maintain fluid balance in the body. It would help if you had normal albumin levels to prevent liquid from leaking out of your blood vessels.
This protein also plays a crucial role in tissue repair and helps the body grow by transporting hormones and essential nutrients around it.
The amino acids, which are the essential components of albumin and come from protein, may be lost. So it is necessary to eat enough protein to have average values.
Albumin – Normal, Low, and High Values
A laboratory blood test measures the amount of albumin in your body. This measure is recognized as a marker of a person’s nutritional status.
Normal or healthy albumin levels range from 3.4 to 5.4 g / dL.
If your levels are less than 3.4 g / dL, you have low albumin values. This may be because you are not eating enough protein or have liver, kidney, or inflammatory diseases.
Low albumin levels can lead to high blood sugar levels, swelling in the legs, feet, and hands, fatigue, nausea, changes in appetite, and dry skin.
If your values are more significant than 5.4 g / dL, you have high albumin. You are at higher risk for high albumin levels when there is an open wound, infection, burn, after a heart attack, or after surgery.
Low albumin – symptoms and what to do
If your albumin levels are slightly low, you may not have any symptoms. In this case, you are most likely not eating enough protein.
If you have liver problems that may have caused your hypoalbuminemia, you may notice that your abdomen is swollen. You may also suffer from other symptoms such as swelling all over your body, legs, muscle weakness, fatigue, or cramps.
Things you can do to treat low albumin:
- Treatments for low albumin levels are based on correcting the cause of the problem.
- Be sure to tell your doctor and all healthcare providers about the medications you are taking and if you have made any lifestyle changes.
- If you have low albumin levels in your blood due to poor nutrition, you may be advised to eat foods rich in protein.
- If your hypoalbuminemia is due to liver dysfunction, you may be placed on fluid restriction and a special diet.
- Avoid alcohol, as alcohol can worsen your low albumin symptoms, especially if there is liver damage.
How to ensure protein in my meals?
Some tips to keep up with your protein needs:
- Eat protein at every meal, don’t fill up on other foods.
- Choose proteins of high biological value (eggs, skim milk, meats) or combine them so that they are complete (for example, legumes and rice)
- Spread the amount of protein throughout the day, improving its absorption.
- Try a High-Protein Supplement – Look for protein bars, shakes, powders, and liquids to add an extra amount to your diet.
- Is eating a lot of eggs bad for fatty liver?
- Carbohydrates, proteins and fats – Ideal percentage
- How many protein shakes to drink per day?
Hypoalbuminemia and liver health
Albumin is synthesized through hepatocytes in the liver and is rapidly excreted into the bloodstream at 10-15 g per day. (2)
If the liver doesn’t do this, something is likely wrong.
If your doctor suspects that you have a condition that affects your liver function, such as cirrhosis, you will likely need to provide a small blood sample for an albumin test.
Test results can indicate whether these conditions are getting better or worse. Symptoms associated with hypoalbuminemia and liver disease are:
- Jaundice – yellow skin and eyes
- involuntary weight loss
An albumin is a group of proteins of great importance for human health.
Albumin’s primary function is to transport nutrients, maintain fluid balance, and repair tissues. I have normal albumin levels that are essential to ensure these functions in the body.
Having low albumin levels in the blood is associated with poor nutrition and liver or kidney problems. High levels can indicate an infection or a recent episode of stress (operation, heart attack, etc.).
If you have low or high albumin symptoms, consult your doctor for help in selecting the best treatment.