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Albumin is the major protein found in blood plasma and constitutes 1.8% to 2.6% of blood volume depending on the individual.
Albumin provides the critical colloid osmotic or oncotic pressure that regulates the passage of water through the capillaries by virtue of the fact that it diffuses very poorly through the capillary walls.

Abnormally low levels of Albumin will result in excessive leakage of fluid in the tissues known as edema. Albumin also performs
a number of other functions including the transportation of nutrients and wastes, the binding of toxins and heavy metals, and the
prevention of red blood cells from 'sticking' together. Albumin is available in either 5% or 25% solution osmotically equivalent
to normal plasma.

Albumin is transfused to replace proteins and fluids in burn patients and in cases of shock due to hemorrhage or surgery.
Albumin is frequently used to treat burns. A typical treatment for third degree burns (30-50 %) requires 600 grams of albumin.
Producing this amount requires about 45 liters of whole blood. Albumin is also administered for adult respiratory distress syndrome and in cases of liver failure.

Albumin is also used in a number of medical products. The one most familiar to Jehovah's Witnesses is the the red blood cell stimulant EPO.  In some countries, like Japan, albumin is still used to treat malnutrition, so there is a bit of irony in the Watchtower's Society's policy on albumin since the doctrine expressly forbids eating blood or using blood for its nutritional value. Albumin is the one blood component that is in fact used for this very purpose.

Older Jehovah's Witnesses will recall that albumin was strictly forbidden at one time as shown by the following published statement:

 "While this physician argues for the use of certain blood fractions, particularly albumin, such also come under the Scriptural ban. - Awake! 09/08/1956 p. 20
The WTS quietly reversed its position on albumin in 1981 in an article written by a Jehovah's Witness physician, Lowell Dixon, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. No notification regarding the change was announced to members of the organization for over a year.
"... Witnesses religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as albumin, immune globulins, and hemophiliac preparations; each Witness must decide individually if he can accept these."
-Awake 06/22/82 p. 25 (italics ours)
Additional information on this topic:

Database of Watchtower published statements on albumin