Serum Bilirubin May Serve as a Marker for Increased Heme Oxygenase Activity and Inducibility in Tissues – a Rationale for the Versatile Health Protection Associated with Elevated Plasma Bilirubin

Elevated serum levels of the antioxidant bilirubin tend to be associated with lower risk for cardiovascular disease and many other disorders, but people who have elevated bilirubin owing to their expression of a low-activity form of an enzyme that aids bilirubin excretion, do not enjoy such protection. This essay proposes that elevated serum bilirubin can serve as a marker for an increased propensity to generate bilirubin within tissues, and it is this propensity, rather than an elevation of serum bilirubin per se, that is responsible for the health protection associated with elevated serum bilirubin levels.

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