Low total protein levels can indicate various disorders in the liver or kidneys. It can also indicate improper protein digestion or absorption. Low total protein levels are typical in cases of malnutrition, celiac disease or other bowel-related issues.
The most prevalent protein present in blood is serum albumin, which is needed for reabsorption into the capillaries after the process of filtration. If the blood protein levels are too low, the fluid won't be reabsorbed efficiently. This invariably causes excess fluid and swelling in different areas of the body.
If blood protein is too low, tests will be needed to determine which specific protein is low so that steps can be taken to bring it up to adequate levels.
The total blood protein test is performed along with several other tests to determine whether there are symptoms of a liver or kidney disorder or unexplained swelling. It's done as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel of tests.
Low levels of total blood protein can also be indicative of more serious issues such as myeloma or autoimmune diseases.
Increasing your amount of common proteins will be ineffective in influencing your test result. Typically, however, the condition is reversible with a balanced diet and addition of the missing proteins as directed by a doctor.