Albumin: Potential Sources of Error in your Lab Result

ALBUMIN: What is albumin, and what does the albumin test measure?

Albumin makes up 50-60% of blood plasma proteins. It is a protein found in the blood plasma. Albumin is synthesized by the liver, and used as an index of hepatic functional status in chronic liver disease. An albumin test may be ordered if your liver or kidneys aren’t working as they should.

What does albumin do in our body?

Albumin keeps fluid from leaking out of your bloodstream and also helps vitamins, enzymes, hormones, and other substances circulate throughout your body. Albumin levels are used in prescribing drug dosage due to its ability to transport pharmacological substances. Albumin tests may be performed alongside creatinine and BUN tests to evaluate kidney function, while albumin tests may be performed or tested with prealbumin to evaluate nutritional status.

Are there any interfering supplements that could alter albumin results?

Prescription medications that can interfere with albumin:

hormones can increase albumin levels

Test method-related interferences for albumin:

In non-fasting samples, marked lipemia present can interfere with albumin measurement by the test method used in the lab. Marked lipemia can also be due to hereditary conditions, certain medications, high alcohol intake, diabetes mellites, renal impairment, and total parenteral nutrition. Patients on large amounts of intravenous fluids may have inaccurate results.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications that interfere with albumin:

None to our knowledge at the time

Are there any lifestyle-related activities that can interfere with albumin results?

Starvation can decrease albumin levels after 24 – 48 hours of starving.
Birth control pills decrease albumin levels.
Exercise-induced hypovolemia is associated with increased plasma albumin content because intense exercise stimulates albumin synthesis in the upright posture.
Not eating enough calories from protein causes low albumin.
Albumin production is decreased during pregnancy

What do you say to your primary care physician (PCP)?

Tell your PCP all the over-the-counter (OTC) medications, prescription medications, and/or herbs you are taking. Especially if you see more than one clinician because drugs prescribed by another clinician can have drug-drug interactions.

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