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What Is a Basic Metabolic Panel?

Medically reviewed on June 27, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Understanding all the separate components of the blood can be confusing. Blood tests allow your provider to evaluate your blood, determine overall health, and potentially diagnose certain conditions. A basic metabolic panel is an important tool that can provide greater insight into your health. Learn more about a basic metabolic panel below.

Understanding the Basic Metabolic Panel

So, what is a basic metabolic panel exactly? Basic and comprehensive metabolic panels are often confused with one another, even though they are different. A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a type of test that looks at your metabolism and chemical balance. Your metabolism is the process of breaking down food and turning it into energy. A basic metabolic panel test is sometimes referred to as a chemistry panel, chemistry screen, electrolyte panel, or chem 7 [1].

Your healthcare provider may order a basic metabolic panel as part of a regular health exam. It’s also standard when you are being treated in an emergency room, and your healthcare provider may use it to monitor high blood pressure, kidney function, and other chronic conditions [7].

What Does a Basic Metabolic Panel Measure?

The basic metabolic panel is like the comprehensive metabolic panel. But unlike the latter, which measures 14 different substances, a basic metabolic panel measures the levels of eight substances in your blood:

  • Glucose – Glucose is a basic sugar and the most easily accessible form of energy for all your cells. It exists freely in the blood, which transports the sugar throughout the body. High blood glucose (also known as hyperglycemia) is a common sign of diabetes, while low blood glucose (known as hypoglycemia) may point to other health issues [2].
  • Calcium – Calcium is an important mineral that is usually associated with strong bones and teeth. Calcium also plays a key role in nerve, heart, and muscle function. Too much or too little calcium can point to thyroid problems, kidney disease, or nutritional issues [3].
  • Electrolytes – Carbon dioxide, chloride, potassium, and sodium are all electrolytes. Electrolytes are substances that essentially generate a small electrical charge. Your body needs electrolytes to balance internal pH levels, regulate muscle contractions, and control basic functions in the nervous system [4].
  • Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine – Blood urea nitrogen is a waste product that comes from the breakdown of proteins in the liver [5]. Creatinine is a waste product that comes from your muscles. Both are eventually filtered by the kidneys and removed from the body via the urine. Abnormal levels in either waste product may indicate kidney problems or can even lead to liver disease.

What's the Difference: Basic vs. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

What Is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel?

What Is Included in a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel?

How your hormones affect your metabolism


1. Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP). Medline Plus. URL. Accessed June 27, 2022.

2. Blood Glucose Test. Medline Plus. URL. Accessed June 27, 2022.

3. Calcium Blood Test. Medline Plus. URL. Accessed June 27, 2022.

4. What are Electrolytes? Cedars Sinai. URL. Accessed June 27, 2022.

5. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed June 27, 2022.

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