The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Test

This set of blood tests can tell your doctor a lot about your health

a vial of blood in a lab

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A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a set of 14 blood tests that give your doctor valuable information about the overall health of your body and its metabolism. In addition to determining the health of your liver and kidneys, the CMP also checks the status of your blood sugar and protein levels and your body's electrolyte and fluid balance.

Also referred to as a metabolic panel or chemistry panel, a CMP is typically done as part of your yearly checkup. Your doctor may also order one based on your risk factors for certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and hypertension.

What the Test Includes

The metabolic panel is based on single blood draw after the patient undergoes a 10 to 12 hour fast. Once in the lab, the blood is analyzed for 14 measurements:

  • Glucose. Also referred to as your "blood sugar," this is your body's main source of energy. Elevated blood sugar can be a sign of prediabetes and diabetes.
  • Calcium. This mineral is critical for proper muscle and heart function, as well as bone formation.


  • Albumin. A protein produced by the liver that helps transport vitamins and enzymes through your bloodstream. The test measures liver function.
  • Total blood protein. Measures all the proteins in the blood.


  • Sodium. Basic to normal body function, including fluid maintenance, as well as muscle and nerve function. Elevated sodium levels may increase fluid retention and blood pressure.
  • Potassium. This electrolyte helps maintain proper heart and muscle function. High or low potassium can be related to hypertension and kidney disease.
  • Carbon dioxide. CO2 helps maintain your body's pH (acid/base) balance.
  • Chloride. Another electrolyte affecting fluid and pH balance.
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen). The kidneys remove this waste product from the blood. High levels are a red flag for kidney function.
  • Creatinine. A waste product created by muscle function. Elevated levels could indicate kidney problems.
  • ALP (alkaline phosphatase). A liver and bone enzyme that can indicate liver damage and bone disorders.
  • ALT (alanine amino transferase). A liver and kidney enzyme.
  • AST (aspartate amino transferase). A heart and liver enzyme.
  • Bilirubin. A liver waste product.

What the Metabolic Panel Reveals

As you can see from the details of the various tests involved, the metabolic panel gives doctors a comprehensive look at overall metabolic health, particularly the liver and kidneys and their different processes.

While abnormal tests could indicate serious medical conditions like diabetes and kidney/ liver problems, the results will most likely be a starting point for your doctor. More condition-specific tests will follow to achieve an accurate diagnosis.

A simpler alternative to the CMP exists, the basic metabolic panel (BMP), which includes the same CMP measurements except for the liver and kidney tests.

Additional Tests in a Metabolic Workup

As part of a metabolic workup, your doctor may also order additional blood tests such as:

  • Complete blood cell count (CBC)
  • Thyroid tests
  • Creatine phosphokinase (CPK)
  • Vitamin B12 level
  • Ammonia (ammonium ion test)
  • Hemoglobin A1c
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Article Sources
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  1. National Institutes for Health. MedlinePlus. Albumin blood test.

  2. National Institutes for Health. MedlinePlus. Potassium blood test.

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