New Health Guide

Low-Level Protein in the Blood: Symptoms, Causes & Remedies

Nov 23, 2017

Albumin is the major protein found in blood plasma. Another main protein is globulin. There can be an indication of underlying health problems if you have a blood test that reveals low levels of protein and albumin. There are a variety of reasons for low protein in blood so the remedies vary depending on different causative factors.

Symptoms of Low Protein in Blood

1. Edema

The condition known as edema, which is also referred to as water retention, can happen due to a low amount of protein in the blood or when your kidney is affected and, through the urine, protein is lost. Edema presents with bloating and swelling, usually in the hands ankles and feet. When your protein level in your blood is low, water can flow out of your bloodstreams and collect in your tissues. There will most likely be a weight gain associated with this condition, which is due to the retention of water.

2. Bruising

There is likely to be easy bruising in your body, due to the lack of protein in the blood. Protein is what helps to keep the blood in the blood vessels.

3. Blood Clotting

When protein levels are low, such as with liver disease, it is likely that continuous bleeding can occur if an injury is sustained.

4. Muscle Wasting and Reduced Energy

Muscle wasting and reduced energy is caused when the protein level in the blood is low and, therefore the body will deplete the reservoir of protein it has maintained and stored in the muscles.

5. Other Symptoms

There are other symptoms which can indicate that your protein level is low and you are suffering from a deficiency. These symptoms include the following:

  • Brittle nails
  • Nails with ridges on them
  • Skin that is scaly
  • Loss of hair
  • Skin rash
  • Slow wound healing
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue

Nausea, headaches, abdominal pain and dizziness can be present in more severe cases.


The cause of the condition can be discovered through a blood test. A doctor should be consulted immediately, so they can find the cause and be able to treat it properly.

Treatment should be determined in all cases by a physician. In some cases a high protein diet may be suitable, where other cases the doctor may choose to treat the underlying condition and the symptoms as well. Medical attention is always necessary; do not try to treat this without consulting a doctor.

Causes of Low Protein in Blood

1. Liver Diseases

Any and all conditions that affect the liver, such as hepatitis, will cause the protein level in the blood to decrease. This is due to the fact that the liver is the organ that is responsible for producing protein.

2. Kidney Problems

When protein is lost from the body through urine, such as with kidney diseases that are known as nephritic syndrome, this can cause low protein levels. When protein is detected in the blood, it can be an indicator of diabetes.

3. Malabsorption

Malabsorption syndrome, also known as difficulty absorbing protein, occurs when your body is not able to absorb protein and other nutrients. The inability to absorb protein in the blood obviously causes low protein in the blood, this can be likely in cases of lactose intolerance or Celiac disease.

4. Malnutrition

Malnutrition refers to the lack of protein due to your diet. If you do not maintain a healthy diet including a substantial level of protein malnutrition can occur. In cases of severe protein deficiency, you become susceptible to disease, such as kwashiorkor and marasmus. Children that are weaned from breast milk to early often present with these diseases.

Amino acids are also referred to as the building blocks of protein, we can produce some amino acids ourselves, such as 10 to 20 amino acids, but aside from that we are responsible to consume others through what we eat. The lack of these amino acids causes the inability for your body to make albumin globulin, which results in low protein.

5. Drugs

It is important to note that some pharmaceuticals, such as estrogens, oral contraceptives and any dug toxic to your liver, can cause a reduction of the total blood protein levels in your body.

6. Other Causes

Conditions such as hyperthyroidism and thiamine deficiency may also cause low protein levels in the body. Finally, this may simply happen because you are not consuming enough protein-rich foods regularly

  • An autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gastrointestinal malabsorption syndromes, such as sprue or Crohn's disease.
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Heart failure.
  • Pregnancy

Remedies for Low Protein in Blood

1. Have Enough Protein Intake

In order to figure out how much protein your body needs to function daily, you need to figure 8grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. Take your weight in pounds divide it by 2.2 and then multiply by 0.8, this is how many grams of protein are necessary for you to consume daily.

If you are trying to lose weight or if you are an athlete or anyone else that wants to increase their muscle mass, increasing your daily amount of protein should help. Any persons with a chronic illness, diabetes or kidney disease should absolutely discuss any changes to their diet with their physician.

2. Change Your Diet

Change your diet to include healthy protein such as lean red meat, fish, skinless chicken and beans. Other healthy protein choices are vegetables and dairy, as well as tofu and soy. Seafood two times a week is a healthy addition to your diet as well. Nuts and legumes are non-animal proteins that not only provide a good protein source, but also provide vitamins, mineral and fiber.

3. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol and acetaminophen, which is a common over the counter medication, act as poison to your liver. If you can cut these out your liver can repair itself as long as the damage is not too great.

4. Mind Your Thyroid Level

Your thyroid level can affect your body as far as your protein levels are concerned. Conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, low levels of anabolic hormones, such as DHEA, can cause low levels of albumin. Hypothyroidism is another condition where there is a need to consult a doctor. You may need a hormone replacement therapy, or something else, but only a doctor can diagnose and treat this.