Pathology Laboratory

Serum Protein Test for Protein Deficiency

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 08:02 am

A serum protein test measures the amount of proteins in the blood. It helps determine if there are any deficiencies or imbalances in the body.

Serum protein tests are used to diagnose various diseases, such as kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer. They also help detect other conditions like anemia, malnutrition, and pregnancy.

As part of a regular health check-up, your doctor refers to routine blood tests or checkups. This often includes a total serum protein test. It measures the amount of protein in your blood. This can give you insight into your general health. It can also look for some serious health problems.

What is total protein?

The human body comprises around 100 trillion cells. Each cell has thousands of different proteins. Together, these cause each cell to do its job. The proteins are like tiny machines inside the cell.

Amino acids and proteins

The protein comprises amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are around 20 amino acids. These 20 amino acids can be arranged in millions of different ways to create millions of different proteins, each with a specific function in the body. The structures differ according to the sequence in which the amino acids combine.

Total serum protein test

Your liver’s in charge of making most of the proteins that are in your blood. They are important for good health.

Albumin: This carries medicines and hormones throughout your body. It also helps with tissue growth and healing.

Globulin: This is a group of proteins. Some of them are made by your liver. Others are made by your immune system. They help fight infection and transport nutrients.

The total serum protein test measures all the proteins in your blood. It can also check the amount of albumin you have compared to globulin, or what’s called your “A/G ratio.”

Serum protein test normal range

Unisex6.2-8.0 gms/dl

Why do a serum protein test?

Your doctor could refer to this test as part of a routine checkup. But he may also want to:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition
  • Screen for liver, kidney, or blood disease
  • See if you’re at risk for an infection
  • Find the cause for symptoms you’re having

Some drugs, like birth control pills, reduce the amount of protein in your blood. This can change your test results. Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you’re taking, as well as any herbs, vitamins, or illegal drugs.

Drink plenty of water before taking this test. Being dehydrated can change the results.

Total serum protein test result interpretation

Low total protein: You could have a liver or kidney disorder, or a digestive disorder like celiac disease (your body can’t absorb protein the way it should).

High total protein: Too much protein in your blood can be a sign of chronic infection or inflammation (like HIV/AIDS or viral hepatitis). It can also be an early sign of a bone marrow disorder.

Low A/G ratio: This might be the sign of an autoimmune disorder, where your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. It can also point to kidney disease or cirrhosis, which is inflammation and scarring of the liver. Sometimes, a low A/G ratio can be a sign of a tumour in your bone marrow.

High A/G ratio: This can be a sign of disease in your liver, kidney, or intestines. It’s also linked to low thyroid activity and leukaemia.

If your doctor finds any of your above test levels are too high or low, you may need to have more precise blood or urine tests. For instance, your doctor may ask to do a serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) if your total serum protein is high or if you have otherwise unexplained signs and symptoms that might suggest you could have a plasma cell disorder, like multiple myeloma. Your doctor will give you more details about your results and take further advice.

Protein deficiency symptoms


One of the most common signs that you’re not getting enough protein is swelling (also called edema), especially in your abdomen, legs, feet, and hands. A likely explanation: The proteins that circulate in your blood albumin, in particular, help keep fluid from building up in your tissues. But many things can cause edema, so be sure to check with your doctor in case it’s more serious.

Mood changes

Your brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to relay information between cells. Many of these neurotransmitters are made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. So a lack of protein in your diet could mean your body can’t make enough of those neurotransmitters, and that would change how your brain works. With low levels of dopamine and serotonin, for example, you may feel depressed or overly aggressive.

Hair, nail, and skin problems

These comprise proteins like elastin, collagen, and keratin. When your body can’t make them, you could have brittle or thinning hair, dry and flaky skin, and deep ridges on your fingernails. Your diet isn’t the only likely cause, of course, but it’s something to consider.

Weakness and fatigue

Research shows that just a week of not eating enough protein can affect the muscles responsible for your posture and movement, especially if you’re 55 or older. And over time, a lack of protein can make you lose muscle mass, which cuts your strength, makes it harder to keep your balance, and slows your metabolism. It can also lead to anaemia when your cells don’t get enough oxygen, which makes you tired.


This one might seem obvious. Protein fuels you. It’s one of three sources of calories, along with carbs and fats. If you want to eat often, even though you have regular meals, you may need more protein. Studies have found that eating foods with protein helps you feel fuller throughout the day.

Slow-healing injuries

People who are low on protein often find their cuts, and scrapes take longer to get better. The same seems to be true of sprains and other exercise-related mishaps. It could be another effect of your body not making enough collagen. It’s found in connective tissues and your skin. To make blood clot, you need proteins, too.

Getting or staying sick

Amino acids in your blood help your immune system make antibodies that activate white blood cells to fight off viruses, bacteria, and toxins. You need protein to digest and absorb other nutrients that keep you healthy. There’s also evidence that protein can change the levels of disease-fighting “good” bacteria in your gut.

Do Your Protein Blood Test Regularly, along with Liver Function Test And Kidney Function Profile.

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