Functions of Blood Plasma:
(1) Transport of food- Plasma transports digested food to different organs and tissues of the body.
(2) Removal of Excretory Substances- Waste substances from the tissues is removed and carried by plasma to the kidneys for elimination.
(3) Disposal of CO2– Major portion of CO2 from the tissues is removed by plasma, where it remains dissolved in the form of bicarbonates.
(4) Transport of Oxygen- Certain percentage of O2 is also transported by plasma. Even the oxygen which is bounded by the red blood cells is first dissolved in the plasma before reaching the cells.
(5) Distribution of Hormones- The secretions of various endocrine glands are transported by plasma.
(6) Plasma also distributes vitamins.
(7) Regulation of Water Balance- Plasma supplies water to different tissues and removes excess water formed during metabolic processes thus maintaining a water balance.
(8) Osmotic Balance- Plasma proteins and minerals in the plasma exert osmotic pressure and maintain blood pressure. These also act as acid-base buffers and maintain blood pH within a range.
(9) Protection against Diseases- Immunoglobulins of plasma act as antibodies and neutralize the harmful foreign agents. These are responsible for body immunity.
(10) Regulation of Body Temperature- Blood plasma regulates the body temperature by transporting heat from the deeply seated heat producing organs to peripheral parts of the body such as skin for dissipation.
(11) Blood Clotting or Coagulation- The plasma proteins fibrinogen, prothrombin and some other blood clotting factors like heparin are present in the plasma. In case of injury, these help in the clotting of blood and prevent blood loss.
(12) Lymph Formation- The lymph is filtered plasma.