Biochemical reference values for blood

Quick Reference

(B = whole blood; P = plasma; S = serum)

table 2.1 Everyday tests

Determination Sample Reference range

Alcohol legal limit (UK) B or P <17.4mmol/l

Albumin P 35–50 g/l

In pregnancy P 25–38 g/l

Ammonia B <40 μmol/l

α-Amylase P 25–180 somogyi units/dl

Anion gap (Na+ + K+) − (HCO3−+ Cl−) P 12–16 mmol/l

Bilirubin P 3–17 μmol/l

Bicarbonate (see also Table 2.2) P 22–28 mmol/l


Ionized P 1.0–1.25 mmol/l

Total P 2.12–2.65 mmol/l

Total in pregnancy P 1.95–2.35 mmol/l

Chloride P 95–105 mmol/l

Cholesterol (see also Table 2.6) P 3.9–7.8 mmol/l

Copper P 12–26 μmol/l

Creatinine P 70–150 μmol/l

In pregnancy P 24–68 μmol/l


Children P 2.0–3.0 nmol/l

Adults P 1.0–2.0 nmol/l

Glucose (fasting) P 3.0–5.0 mmol/l

Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) B 5–8%


Male S 14–31 μmol/l

Female S 11–30 μmol/l

Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) S 45–75 μmol/l


Venous B 0.5–2.2 mmol/l

Arterial B 0.5–1.6 mmol/l

Magnesium P 0.75–1.05 mmol/l

Osmolality P 278–305 mosm/kg

Phosphate (inorganic) P 0.8–1.45 mmol/l

Potassium P 3.5–5.0 mmol/l

Protein (total) P 60–80 g/l

Sodium P 135–145 mmol/l

Troponin I P <0.2 ng/ml

Troponin T P <0.1 ng/ml

Urea P 2.5–6.7 mmol/l

In pregnancy P 2.0–2 mmol/l

Urea nitrogen (BUN) P 1.16–3.12 mmol/l

Uric acid

Male P 210–480 umol/1

Female P 150–390 umol/1

In pregnancy P 100–270 umol/1

Zinc P 6–25 umol/1

table 2.2 Blood gases

Measurement Reference range

Anion gap 12–16 mmol/l

Arterial CO2(PaCO2) 4.7–6.0 kPa

Mixed venous CO2 (PvCO2) 5.5–.8 kPa

Arterial oxygen (PaO2) 12.0–14.5 kPa

Mixed venous oxygen (PvO2) 4.0–6.0 kPa

Newborn arterial oxygen 5.3–8.0 kPa

H+ ion activity 36–4 nmol/l

Arterial pH 7.35–.45 pH units


Arterial - whole blood 19–24 mmol/l

Venous - plasma 22–28 mmol/l

Cord blood 14–22 mmol/l

Base excess ± 2 mmol/l


Non-smoker <2%

Smoker 3–15%

Toxic at: >>15%

Coma at: >50%

table 2.3 Diagnostic enzymes

Enzyme Sample Reference range

Acid phosphatase

Total S 1–5 U/l

Prostatic S 0–1 U/l

Alkaline phosphatase P 80–250 U/l

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) P 5–35 U/l

α-Amylase P 25–180 somogyi units/dl

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) S 21–54 U/l

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) P 15–42 U/l

Creatine kinase (CK)

Male P 24–195 U/l

Female P 24–70 U/l

Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)

Male P 11–51 U/l

Female P 7–35 U/l

Lactate dehydrogenase (total) P 240–525 U/l

table 2.4 Hormones

Hormone Sample Reference range

Adrenaline (epinephrine) P 0.03–1.31 nmol/l

ACTH P 3.3–15.4 pmol/l


Recumbent P 100–450 pmol/l

Midday P 2-fold increase of recumbent level

Angiotensin II P 5–35 pmol/l

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) P 0.9–4.6 pmol/l


Male P <100 nmol/l

Female P <30 nmol/l


00.00 h P 80–280 nmol/l

09.00 h P 280–700 nmol/l

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

Follicular phase P or S 0.5–5.0 U/l

Ovulatory peak P or S 8–15 U/l

Luteal phase P or S 2–8 U/l

Postmenopause P or S > 30 U/l

Male P or S 0.5–5.0 U/l


Male + female (>60 yr) P <50 pmol/l

Female (16–60 yr) P <38 pmol/l

Glucagon P <50 pmol/l

Growth hormone P <20 mU/l

Human chorionic gonadotrophin S <5U/l

Insulin (fasting) P <15mU/l

Insulin C-peptide (fasting) P <0.4 nmol/l

(undetectable in hypoglycaemia)

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IFG-1) P 0.52–3.4 kU/l

Luteinizing hormone

Premenopausal P or S 6–13 U/l

Follicular phase P or S 3–12 U/l

Ovulatorypeak P or S 20–80 U/l

Luteal phase P or S 3–16 U/l

Postmenopause P or S >30 U/l

Male P or S 3–8 U/l

Noradrenaline P 0.47–4.14 mmol/l


Follicular phase P 75–260 pmol/l

Mid-cycle P 370–1470 pmol/l

Luteal phase P 180–1100 pmol/l

Male P <220 pmol/l

Parathyroid hormone (intact) P 0.9–5.4 pmol/l

Pancreatic polypeptide P <200 pmol/l


Male P <5 nmol/l

Female postovulation P 15–77nmol/l

Follicular (newborn) P <3 nmol/l

17-Hydroxyprogesterone P 7–16 nmol/l


Male P <450 U/l

Female P <600 U/l

Renin activity P

Recumbent 1.1–2.7 pmol/ml per hr

Erect after 30 min 3.0–4.3 pmol/ml per hr

Somatostatin P 30–166 pmol/l


Male P or S 9–42 nmol/l

Female P or S 1–2.5 nmol/l

Thyroid-stimulating hormone P 0.5–5.5 mU/l

Thyroid-binding globulin P 13–28 mg/l

Triiodothyronine (T3) P 1–3 nmol/l

Free T3 P 3.3–8.2 pmol/l

Thyroxine (T4) P 70–140 nmol/l

Free T4 P 9–25 pmol/l

Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) P <30 pmol/l

table 2.5 Proteins and immunoproteins

Protein/immunoprotein Sample Reference range

Albumin P 35–50 g/l

α1-Antitrypsin S 107–209 mg/l


C3 65–190 mg/dl

C4 15–50 mg/dl

Caeruloplasmin S 16–0 mg/dl

C1 esterase inhibitor s 15–5 mg/dl

C-reactive protein (CRP) s <10mg/l

Ferritin s 14–200 ug/1

Fibrinogen p 2–4g/l

D-dimer s <500 ug/1

Haptoglobins s 0.6–2.6 g/l


IgG s 6.0–13.0 g/l

IgA s 0.8–3.0 g/l

IgM s 0.4–2.5 g/l

IgE s <120 kU/l

β2-Microglobulin s <3 mg/l

Thyroid microsomal antibodies

Male s <1/400

Female (<44 yr) s <1/400

Female (>44 yr) s <1/6400

Total protein p 60–0 g/l

β1-Transferrin s 1.2–2.0 g/l

table 2.6 Lipids and lipoproteins

Lipid/lipoprotein Sample Reference range

Cholesterol P 3.9–7.8 mmol/l

Ideal upper limit 5.2 mmol/l

Acceptable upper limit 6.5 mmol/l

Triglyceride (fasting) P 0.55–1.90 mmol/l

Nonesterified (free) S

Fatty acids (NEFA)

Male 0.19–0.78 mmol/l

Female 0.06–0.9 mmol/l

Lipoproteins (as cholesterol)

Low-density (LDL) S 1.55–4.4 mmol/l

Ideal upper limit 3.4 mmol/l

Acceptable upper limit 4.2 mmol/l

High density (HDL) S 0.8–2.0 mmol/l

Ideal (male) >0.9 mmol/l

Ideal (female) >1.2 mmol/l

Total cholesterol/HDL ideal S <5 ratio

table 2.7 Vitamins

Vitamin Sample Reference range

Vitamin A

(retinol) S

Male 1.06–3.35 μmol/1

Female 0.84–2.95μmol/1

β-caroteneS S

Male 0.01–6.52μmol/1

Female 0.019–2.93μmol/1

Vitamin B

Thiamine (B1) P >40 nmol/l

Riboflavin (B2) s 100–630 nmol/l

Pyridoxine (B6) P (EDTA) 20–120 nmol/l

Vitamin B12 S 138–780 nmol/l

Folate S 12–33μmol/1

Red blood cell folate B 500–1300μmol/1

Vitamin D metabolites

25-(OH) D S 17–125 nmol/l

1,25-(OH)2D3 S 50–120 pmol/l

Vitamin E (a-tocopherol) s 11.5–35μmol/1

table 2.8 Tumour markers

Tumour marker Sample Reference range

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) S <10 kU/l

Carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) S <10 ug/1

Neuron-specific enolase (NSE) S <12 ug/1

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) S <4 ug/1

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) S <5IU/l

CA125 S <35 U/ml

CA19-9 S <33 U/ml

From Concise Medical Dictionary in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.