Total Protein

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2021-08-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

Total serum protein consists of albumin and total globulin. The total protein value can therefore be affected by conditions that affect albumin and total globulin readings. However, a normal total protein value is still possible despite abnormal albumin or globulin levels. An example of this is a condition that causes a decreased albumin level and an increased globulin level, which will yield a normal total serum protein value.[1],[2]


  • Protein absorption is affected by stomach, pancreatic, or small intestine dysfunction.
  • Hence serum protein is used to screen for nutritional deficiencies and functional digestive problems.
  • Malnutrition, digestive dysfunction due to HCL need, or liver dysfunction are all possible signs of a decreased total protein value.
  • An increased total protein level can be due to a rise in either one or both levels of albumin and total globulin.

Patient Preparation

  • Factors which can cause increased levels
  • Hemolysis and dehydration, prolonged application of a tourniquet
  • Drugs: anabolic steroids, androgens, corticosteroids, dextran, growth hormone, insulin, phenazopyridine, and progestterone
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels
  • any condition with prolonged bed rest, during 3rd trimester of pregnancy
  • Drugs: ammonium ions, estrogens, hepatotoxic drugs, and oral contraceptives

Clinical Implications

Ranges: The following are the reference ranges for this lab. However, lab ranges can vary by laboratory and country. [2]

Standard U.S. Units Standard International Units
Conventional Laboratory Range 6.0-8.5 g/dL 60-85 g/L
Optimal Range 6.9-7.4 g/dL 69-74 g/L
Alarm Ranges < 5.9 or > 8.5 g/dL < 59 or > 85 g/L

High levels indicate:

Low levels indicate:

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (1998) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby, Inc
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain