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What is Albumin?

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. You can test your albumin levels by purchasing our simple at-home finger prick Liver Health test kit for just £39.00.  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.

How does Albumin affect your wellbeing?

A high albumin level is 51.5< g/L.  Higher than normal albumin levels can be caused by dehydration. The most common causes of dehydration are a poor fluid intake and can occur due of vomiting, diarrhoea, burns, fever or urinary issues. Certain drugs such as steroids can raise albumin levels, and so to can hormones such as insulin. That’s why is a good practice to check your liver health over time to establish your own personal albumin levels.

A low albumin level is <33.95 g/L and could be a sign of malnutrition, liver disease or an inflammatory disease.

The liver can become diseased through infection e.g. hepatitis, increased/excess alcohol consumption, poor diet e.g. non-alcoholic fatty liver, trauma, inherited factors such as haemochromatosis and immune system issues e.g. primary biliary cirrhosis.

When the liver is damaged it reduces its production of albumin and so there is a decreased concentration within the blood. Research has shown that advanced liver disease results in severe oxidative damage to albumin and has a reduced binding with bilirubin, a substance produced when red blood cells break down. The bilirubin binds to albumin where it is transported to the liver for excretion.

Normal albumin levels are between 35 – 50 g/L, Forth customers have an average albumin level of 41.46 g/L.

How To Improve Albumin Levels With Diet

Diet is a major factor in the health of the liver. The liver has important functions in the human body including the detoxification of chemicals, metabolism of drugs and blood filtration. Individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease tend to eat highly calorific diets which mainly consist of carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, it is essential to eat a healthy, balanced diet to ensure the liver remains healthy.  Make sure you are eating a good amount of dietary fibre as this will help to keep your digestive tract healthy, the liver filters the blood from the digestive tract. Good sources of fibre are fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Eating lots of simple carbohydrates like white bread, cakes and pastries can increase blood glucose levels rapidly and lead to weight gain, so you need to be aware of how much you are eating. Swapping simple carbohydrates for wholegrains will slow down the rise in blood sugar, are healthier for the liver and are high in fibre.

Improving Albumin Levels Through Hydration

Hydration is another important factor, particularly if your albumin levels are increased. The liver is approximately 73% water and needs water to function. A lack of water can also mean the liver has to compensate by helping the kidneys and so can accumulate more fat. Try to drink around 2 litres of water per day, although this may need to be increased if you are exposed to hot temperatures or are exercising. Alcohol doesn’t contribute to our hydration status, in fact it causes dehydration because it causes increased urination. Alcohol also harms the liver and can be a major contributory factor for liver disease.

Common symptoms of liver disease

The most common symptoms of liver damage are feeling tired and weak all or most of the time, reduced appetite, loss of libido, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), itchy skin and nausea and/or vomiting.

Albumin Tests

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Nutricheck – Vitamin Deficiency Blood Test

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Liver Function Test

Check your liver function and understand your risk of developing liver disease with our at home liver health test.

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[1] Lab Tests Online. (2019). Albumin. Available at:

[2] Marshall, W. (2012). Albumin (Serum, Plasma). Association for Clinical Biochemistry. Available at:

[3] Oettl, K et al. (2008). Oxidative Damage of Albumin in Advanced Liver Disease. BBA – Molecular Basis of Disease: 1782(7-8), pp 469-473.

[4] Moman, R, N and Varacallo, M. (2018). Physiology, Albumin. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

[5] Throop, J, L et al. (2004). Albumin in Health and Disease: Protein Metabolism and Function. Compendium.

[6] National Health Service. (2017). Liver Disease. Available at:

[7] Ashraf, M and Rea, R. (2017). Effect of Dehydration on Blood Tests. Practical Diabetes: 34.5,.

[8] National Health Service. (2017).  Liver Disease. Available at:

[9] National Health Service. (2017). Dehydration. Available at:

[10] Nseir, W et al. (2014). Role of Diet and Lifestyle Changes in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. World Journal of Gastroenterology: 20(28), pp 9338-9344.

[11] (2019). Carbohydrate and Diabetes. Available at:

[12] EDWCA. (2019). The Benefits of Drinking Water. Available at:

Medically reviewed

This information has been medically reviewed by Dr Nicola Keay.

Nicola has extensive clinical and research experience in the fields of endocrinology and sport and exercise medicine. Nicky is a member of the Royal College of Physicians, Honorary Fellow in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University and former Research Fellow at St. Thomas’ Hospital.

Nicky Keay
Dr Nicola Keay

BA, MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, MRCP.​

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