Total Protein

What Is Total Protein?

Total protein is a measurement of the total amount of protein found in the blood. There are two main types of protein in the serum portion of blood: albumin and globulin. Albumin is a small molecule carrier whose main purpose is to transport various substance around the body. Globulin proteins include enzymes, antibodies and over 500 other proteins.[1]

Which tests include this marker?

What Role/s Does It Play in The Body?

Total protein measures the two major protein types in serum: albumin and globulin as well as all proteins present in serum except for clotting factors. When these figures are interpreted, the hydration status of the individual should be taken into consideration. Low serum protein can be masked by dehydration. When dehydration is present serum albumin and globulin will be proportionately increased.[2]

Albumin makes up between 35 and 50% of total serum protein. Total protein on its own isn’t particularly useful, instead, the results need to be interpreted alongside other liver or kidney function tests.

How Does Total Protein Affect My Wellbeing?

A high total protein level can be caused by:

  • Dehydration
  • Chronic infection/inflammation
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Multiple myeloma
  • MGUS

People who are well hydrated but have a high total protein level may need further investigation to identify the cause.

A low total protein level is only possible when low values of albumin and globulin occur. If there is a low protein count but a normal albumin level then you may have humoral immunodeficiency.[3]

How Can I Improve My Result?

The value of total protein on its own is of little use, but when used in combination with other biomarkers it can help to identify some health conditions.


Nutrition is an important factor in our health and immune status. Globulins make up a large part of our immune system. If we are deficient in some nutrients, then this can make our immune system weak.[4]

Micronutrients including zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamins A, C and E, B6 and folic acid all have important influences on our immune responses. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy and balanced diet incorporating all these micronutrients.[5]

You should keep your alcohol intake within the recommended guidelines of 14 units per week. A healthy diet should consist of a high percentage of nutrient-dense carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, roots and legumes.


Exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle. However, intense exercise can also induce immunodepression during recovery. Therefore, it is essential that you take rest periods between bouts of intense exercise to prevent illness.[6] 

Aerobic exercise is particularly beneficial for heart health. It increases your heart and breathing rate gently and leaves you feeling warmer but you shouldn’t be gasping for breath. Activities include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Using gym equipment like the treadmill, exercise bike, hill climber, rowing machine[7]

Tests that include this marker

Liver health

Is your lifestyle impacting upon your liver? Check how well your liver is functioning with our comprehensive liver function test.

Special offer - Save £10



Track & learn how to improve 16 of the most essential health markers that play a vital role in your wellbeing.

Special offer - Save £10
per test

Baseline Plus


Measure & track 20 key biomarkers including energy, fat, sugar, stress, inflammation and bone health.

£79 per test


With over 40 biomarkers, this health check empowers you to understand much more about your health on the inside.



Our most advanced health check which analyses almost 50 biomarkers. For those who want a deep understanding of their health.



[1] Lab Tests Online UK. (2013). Total Protein Test. Available at:

[2] Goldstein-Fuchs, D, J and LaPierre, A, F. (2014). 54 – Nutrition and Kidney Disease. In: National Kidney Foundation Primer on Kidney Diseases (Sixth Edition).

[3] Marshall, W. (2012).  Total Protein (Serum, Plasma). Association for Clinical Biochemistry. Available at:

[4] Kafeshani, M. (2015). Diet and Immune System. Immunopathologia Persa: 1(1).

[5] Chandra, R, K. (1997). Nutrition and the Immune System: An Introduction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 66, pp 460S-463S.

[6] Peake, J, M., Neubauer, O., Walsh, N, P and Simpson, R, J. (2016). Recovery of the Immune System After Exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology: 122, pp 1077-187.

[7] Heart UK. (2018). Physical Activity. Available at:

View full list of biomakers