What is Albumin? - Definition & Levels

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Glucose Levels in the Blood and Urine

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 What Is Albumin?
  • 1:30 When Is the Test Ordered?
  • 1:53 Low & High Albumin
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

There are numerous proteins that help the body maintain balance. This lesson examines one such protein, albumin, and discusses normal levels as well as aliments that may cause albumin levels to be too high or too low.

What Is Albumin?

Albumin is a pretty funny sounding word, but in reality, it's a fairly important protein that is made by the liver. When the liver or kidneys are not functioning well, albumin levels may be out of whack, but more on that later. For now, let's take a closer look at how this protein contributes to your overall health.

Think of the cells in your body as tiny fluid-filled sacs. If these tiny sacs, or cells, lose too much fluid, they shrivel, and if they have too much fluid, they explode. Obviously exploding or shriveling cells are not good, so your body tries to keep your cells just right. And how does your body accomplish this? Well, this is where albumin comes into play. Although albumin isn't fully responsible for keeping the fluid level in your cells just right, it does play a major part.

Albumin helps transport substances through your blood, mainly calcium, progesterone, and bilirubin. While you've probably heard of calcium, progesterone and bilirubin may be a bit more foreign to you. In women, progesterone is involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy; in men progesterone is the precursor to other hormones, like testosterone. Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells are broken down, and if they're not transported appropriately, certain problems can arise. For example, if bilirubin levels are too high, you may notice a yellowing of your skin or eyes, known as jaundice. This is often seen in newborn babies.

When Is the Test Ordered?

Oftentimes, albumin tests are ordered as a general health screening. Most times a simple blood test is all that that's needed to measure albumin levels, as it's found in the blood's plasma, or the clear portion of blood. An albumin test may also be ordered if you're having certain medical problems too, such as:

  • Swelling in the abdomen region
  • Unexplained loss of appetite and weight
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue

Low & High Albumin

Let's now talk a bit about low and high levels of albumin. Levels below 3.5 g/dL are considered low, although this value may vary depending upon the laboratory and the age of the patient. For example, the normal level for children is between 4 to 5.9 g/dL, and even these ranges can vary.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account