Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Total Body Protein (TBP)

The Total Body Protein (TBP) is a body composition method that measures the amount of nitrogen in the body, which serves as a direct indicator of total body protein. This test involves the use of neutron irradiation, which causes the body to emit characteristic gamma rays.

Purpose and Equipment

The purpose of the TBP test is to measure total body protein. To conduct this test, a Prompt Gamma Activation Analyzer is required.


Before the scan begins, measurements of chest, arm, waist, and leg widths and thickness are taken to adjust the nitrogen scan data based on the participant’s size and shape. The subject then lies still in a supine position while three separate body sections (legs, waist, chest) are measured for 10 minutes each. Neutron irradiation is used during the scan, and the gamma rays emitted by the body are collected by detectors placed on either side of the subject. The collected gamma rays are then analyzed using conventional spectroscopy.

Results and Advantages

Total protein can be estimated by analyzing the ratio of nitrogen to hydrogen counts. Since protein is composed of approximately 16% nitrogen and over 98% of the total body nitrogen is in the form of protein, this measurement provides valuable insights into total body protein. Additionally, when combined with measurements from the Total Body Potassium Counter, the TBP test can also determine total organ and muscle mass.

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Disadvantages and Availability

One of the drawbacks of the TBP test is the high cost and limited availability of the required instrument, the Prompt Gamma Activation Analyzer.

Usage and Alternatives

Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis is considered the gold-standard method for measuring the amount of nitrogen in the body, which directly correlates to total body protein. Similar tests include measuring girths, Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), Near Infrared Interactance, Total Body Potassium (TBK), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC), and Computed Tomography (CT).

Related Pages and Products

For more information on other body composition tests, measuring body composition, and videos of anthropometric tests, please visit our website. We also offer a skinfold caliper store for those interested in related products.


Q: How does the TBP test work?
A: The TBP test measures the amount of nitrogen in the body, which indicates total body protein. It involves neutron irradiation and analysis of the gamma rays emitted by the body.

Q: What equipment is required for the TBP test?
A: The TBP test requires a Prompt Gamma Activation Analyzer.


The Total Body Protein (TBP) test is a valuable method for measuring total body protein by analyzing the amount of nitrogen in the body. This test provides insights into total organ and muscle mass when combined with other measurements. However, the TBP test is limited by the high cost and availability of the required equipment. To learn more about body composition tests and find related products, visit our website.

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