Albumin is the major protein in the serum of mammals. It is synthesized exclusively in the liver, before being secreted into the circulation. Similar to skeletal muscle protein, albumin synthesis is stimulated by dietary amino acids and proteins as well as exercise. Albumin has three isoforms based on the redox states of the free cysteine residue at position 34. The redox state of serum albumin has long been extensively investigated in terms of oxidative stress-related chronic diseases, with the redox state of serum albumin having been regarded as a marker of systemic oxidative stress. However, according to recent animal studies, the redox state of serum albumin is modulated by albumin turnover and may also reflect amino acid/protein nutritional status. Furthermore, as the redox state of serum albumin is modulated by exercise training, measuring the pre- and post-exercise redox states of serum albumin in athletes may be useful in assessing amino acid/protein nutritional status and exercise-induced oxidative stress, which are closely associated with skeletal muscle adaptive responses. This article extensively reviews serum albumin and the redox state of albumin in the context of amino acid/protein nutritional status and exercise training.
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