I had a blood test last week and the results show: Low Blood Urea Nitrogen, which is a byproduct of protein digestion produce by the liver and removed by the kidneys. My level was 2 (I've found a lot of different suggestions of "normal", varying as far as 6-24).
As I eat a low protein diet (consistently below 10%), I'm not surprised. Nor can I find any specifics on how this could be "harmful". General wisdom suggests the low levels were caused by "overhydration" or "the beginning stages of possible malnutrition". All other tests, including iron, B12, thyroid hormones, liver and kidney function, calcium, white cell counts, etc were all *perfect*.
I'm posting this to not only ask: Has anyone else had any experience with levels this low? Is this considered a normal level for vegans or HCRVs? Could levels this low cause me harm?
I'd also like to open up discussion around what is our "normal"? What levels can we expect to be low on these sorts of tests? And, finally, how do we stop the laughing fit when our doctor suggests we could be *dun dun dun* protein deficient?
My BUN tested low (3) but none of the Doctors I've seen seemed concerned about it.
@ Mike: Thank you for sharing this!
For the most part, a lot of blood tests were done using studies of what is the norm in SAD populations.
Some people feel fine, and yet a blood test might show a deficiency. If one is eating a low fat diet, the body's cells and tissues are efficiently using those nutrients, so there may not be a deficiency, rather an efficiency:)
If I am reading this correctly, it seems there is nothing to worry about here. This BUN test is basically a measurement of protein consumption, but not necessarily a good indicator of whether something is wrong or not.
If you are feeling fine, do not worry and maybe get it checked again next year.
I recently graduated from nursing school, and I haven't heard of a health professional being concerned about a low BUN. It is an extremely common test that is done to determine kidney function by showing how well the kidneys eliminate Urea from the blood. If the kidneys are damaged, they won't be good at filtering urea from the blood, so the urea in the blood goes up. You have healthy kidneys and don't eat a diet high in protein, so the urea in your blood is likely to be low.
Never get too caught up in numbers --- if you feel good, and you aren't symptomatic --- often things are doing fine. Plus what is normal for you, may vary for others based on age, sex, size, etc.
I will echo what everyone else says --- and I have never seen any doctors concerned over isolated low BUN in an o/w healthy individual.