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What Does a Low Protein Level Indicate?

Updated April 17, 2017

The main protein in the bloodstream is albumin, an antioxidant made by the liver. Since albumin is vital for transporting nutrients to the cells of the body, a low protein level in the blood can indicate several conditions or diseases.

Malnutrition

A low protein level in either young children, the old or the poor can indicate malnutrition. When the body does not get enough protein, such as meat, dairy, nuts or beans, the blood levels will be low.

Kidneys

The kidneys are designed to filter out waste from the bloodstream and keep beneficial nutrients, such as protein; if the kidneys are not functioning correctly, proteins can be flushed out with the waste, an indication of kidney disease.

Protein in the Urine

When high protein levels are detected in the urine, low protein levels are expected in the blood; the filtration system of the kidneys is not working as it should and protein is being flushed from the body in the urine.

Infection

When blood protein levels are low in children sickened by poor sanitation or contaminated water supplies, the body uses up nutrients and protein in order to fight the infection.

Cure

Adding protein-rich foods to your diet will increase the levels of protein in the blood. If kidney disease or infection is the cause, then treating the disease or infection with antibiotics is imperative.

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About the Author

Gemma Argent writes articles and essays for Associated Content, HART, Horizon Magazine, and Canada. She writes fiction for Aria Kalsan and sci-fi and essays for Writing Edge magazine. She has bachelor's degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno, in environmental resources and archaeology and has done graduate coursework from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in water resources and writing.