Serum sodium and potassium

Serum magnesium

Serum albumin

Serum calcium and parathyroid hormone

Medical Research

Serum albumin and health

Optimal hydration

Medical literature

What is serum albumin?

What is serum albumin?

For the purpose of the information below the terms serum albumin, plasma albumin and blood albumin can be considered synonymous.

Serum albumin is the major water soluble blood protein in the body. The amount of albumin in blood is approximately one quarter the amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Because of its importance, serum albumin has been studied extensively - possibly more than any other protein.  Serum albumin accounts for about half of the soluble protein content of blood and for at least three quarters of the blood colloid oncotic pressure which counteracts blood hydrostatic pressure to control fluid balance in the body.  It is a blood carrier for many important hormones in the body, including thyroid hormone and steroid hormones, as well as a blood carrier for calcium, magnesium, zinc, pharmaceuticals, bilirubin and fatty acids.  It has a range of other essential functions including the buffering of pH variations.

Serum albumin appears to be the most important circulatory antioxidant in the body.  It renders potential toxins harmless and transports toxins to disposal sites.  Serum albumin functions as a nitric oxide (NO) carrier and has enzymatic properties that can be utilized to convert prodrugs to active therapeutics.  It appears to have a protective effect on the lining cells of blood vessels by decreasing the inflammatory process.  Serum albumin plays a role in clearing toxic peptides (amyloid-beta peptides) which are precursors of Alzheimer’s disease.

Human serum albumin is a small globular protein consisting of 609 amino acids.  Synthesis of serum albumin occurs in the liver (approximately 15 grams per day).  Pathology of liver cells decreases albumin synthesis.  Serum albumin has a half life of approximately 20 days and normal serum levels range from 35 to 45 grams per liter.  Serum albumin has been shown to distribute into the extracellular spaces of the skin in particular and into the extracellular spaces of other tissues to a lesser extent.

Most cases of  low serum albumin and hypoalbuminemia are caused by acute and chronic inflammatory processes, liver disease, kidney disease or malnutrition. Excess alcohol consumption decreases liver synthesis of albumin.

[Abstract in PubMed:]

Among hospitalized patients, low serum albumin levels are correlated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Indeed, low serum albumin levels are important predictors of mortality in heart disease and cancer patients.

Separation of human serum proteins
by electrophoresis


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