A normal albumin suggests that numerous functions in your body are in balance, known to decrease the risk for disease and increase the chance for a longer and healthier life compared to diverging albumin. Tracking your albumin over time together with the other biomarkers in the Levine clock can also help you better understand your biological aging.
Since albumin is one of the most important and abundant proteins in the body, measuring albumin can provide valuable information about a person’s overall health. To be more specific, measuring albumin could be relevant for several reasons including:
Monitoring inflammatory processes
Evaluating liver function
Evaluating kidney function
Evaluating nutritional status
Evaluating fluid balance
Tracking biological age with the Levine clock
Albumin is one of our bodies’ most important proteins. It is produced by the liver and found circulating in our blood. It is by far the most abundant protein in plasma and has several important functions in our bodies, such as:
Maintaining a proper balance of fluids between blood vessels and tissues
Transporting substances including hormones, fatty acids, drugs and ions
Binding and buffering acids, helping your body to maintain its pH balance
Providing nutrition to tissues
High levels of albumin, also known as hyperalbuminemia, isn’t commonly found, and isn’t in itself typically a cause for concern. The most common cause behind elevated levels is perhaps dehydration, resulting from an increased concentration due to a reduced blood volume. High intake of a protein-rich diet and vigorous exercise are also possible explanations for increased albumin levels. Less common causes, often followed-up by other symptoms or multiple deviating test results, are liver infections and certain medications.
Important note: High albumin levels alone cannot diagnose medical conditions and if values are deviating from the normal range, more tests and evaluations may be necessary.
Low levels of albumin, also known as hypoalbuminemia, suggests low circulating levels of albumin in your bloodstream. Basically, the underlying physiological process behind this is one or several of the following:
Affected production, indirectly meaning an affected liver function, can occur in conditions like cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver failure. To even suspect these conditions, you would also have to show several symptoms and test values indicating these relatively rare conditions.
Inability to retain albumin it in the circulatory system, also known as protein loss, seen in kidney disease and inflammatory diseases. In these cases, a urine sample will often show elevated levels of protein, and the symptoms related to these conditions are often pronounced and prominent.
Fluid retention, which causes the blood to dilute. This can be caused by liver disease and congestive heart failure. The simple explanation here is that the same amount of albumin is measured in a greater volume of fluid, thus decreased.
Malnutrition, causing a protein deficiency and thereby low albumin levels.
A wide variety of medical conditions can cause a decrease in albumin levels, including:
Since albumin is produced by the liver, liver disease can lower the levels of albumin. Can occur as a result of conditions like cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver failure.
Since the kidneys help filter albumin from the blood, kidney diseases such as nephrotic syndrome, glomerulonephritis and chronic kidney disease can lead to an impaired ability to contain albumin, leading to reduced levels of albumin.
For this reason, high levels of albumin in the urine, also known as proteinuria, can be an early sign of kidney disease.
Protein deficiency and malnutrition can be a cause for low albumin levels.
Inflammatory processes in our bodies can in some cases reduce the levels of albumin. This can happen as a result of inability to absorb and melt proteins. Examples of conditions are inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
When fluid is retained, the blood is diluted. A blood test from a diluted circulating blood will contain lower levels of albumin as a direct effect of lower concentration. Two conditions that may cause fluid retention are congestive heart failure and liver disease.
Avoid alcohol intake
Avoid intake of high-fat foods
In general, the normal range is divided into age categories as follows:
18-40 years old - 36-48 g/L
41-70 years old - 36-45 g/L
>70 years old - 34-45 g/L
Important note: Slightly deviating albumin value is most often normal and needs no concern. Statistically, 5% (meaning one in twenty people) can have a normal albumin outside the general normal range.