Iron Blood Testing: Normal, High, Low

Iron (Fe) is an important mineral in the body which helps create red blood cells and carry oxygen. So, an iron blood test checks the iron level and these capacities just mentioned, in order to identify iron-deficiency anemia or iron overload.

Normally, Iron blood tests are divided into five parts:

  • Serum iron test: measures the iron level in the blood
  • Serum ferritin test: checks the amount of stored iron in the body.
  • Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test: tells the amount of free transferrin (a protein that binds iron) to carry iron through the blood.
  • Unsaturated iron-binding capacity (UIBC) test: displays the level of transferrin not attached to iron.
  • Transferrin saturation test: shows the level of transferrin attached to iron

Normal results:

  • Serum iron: 60 to 170 mcg/dL, or 10.74 to 30.43 micromol/L
  • TIBC: 240 to 450 mcg/dL, or 42.96 to 80.55 micromol/L
  • Transferrin saturation: 20% to 50%

What do the results tell?

High iron levels suggest:

  • Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the body)
  • Anemia
  • Liver tissue death
  • Hepatitis (inflammation in the liver)
  • Iron poisoning

Besides, low results suggest:

  • Long-term digestive tract bleeding
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Insufficient iron intake
  • Pregnancy
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding


Keywords: Iron; Iron, serum; Serum Fe; Serum Iron

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