Iron Test – Understand Result

An iron test is to evaluate your body’s current level of iron. When your doctor suspects that you may have too little or too much iron in your system, an iron test may be arranged, sometimes together with other tests. Other tests may include TIBC, Transferrin saturation, UIBC, Ferritin.

Iron test is a blood test with a blood sample from your arm vein.

Your doctor may request that you fast for 12 hours prior to some iron tests; in this case, only water is permitted.


Normal range of iron and related tests is:

  • Iron: 60 to 170 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or 10.74 to 30.43 micromoles per liter (micromol/L)
  • Total iron binding capacity (TIBC): 240 to 450 mcg/dL or 42.96 to 80.55 micromol/L
  • Transferrin saturation: 20% to 50% (transferrin moves iron through the blood)
  • Ferritin: 20 to 500 nanograms per milliliter for men, 20 to 200 nanograms per milliliter for women
  • UIBC: 140-330 mcg/dl (Males), 140-346 mcg/dl (Females)


A summary of the changes in iron tests seen in various diseases of iron status is shown in the table below.

Disease Iron TIBC/Transferrin UIBC % Transferrin Saturation Ferritin
Iron Deficiency Low High High Low Low
Hemochromatosis High Low Low High High
Chronic Illness Low Low Low/Normal Low Normal/High
Hemolytic Anemia High Normal/Low Low/Normal High High
Sideroblastic Anemia Normal/High Normal/Low Low/Normal High High
Iron Poisoning High Normal Low High Normal

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