Iron Study. What is included in a comprehensive Iron study test?

Iron

Serum iron measures the level of iron in the liquid part of your blood. There is some Iron in the cells as well. Serum iron test results cannot be interpreted in isolation from other tests in the Iron study panel and, preferably, in full blood count. 

Low levels of iron in serum may indicate iron deficiency. Usually, this deficiency appears during infections or another inflammation process somewhere in the body. They say “inflammation eats the iron”.

High levels of iron may be due to the recent consumption of iron-rich food such as liver, steak or supplements.

 

Transferrin

The protein, Transferrin sticks to the iron in the blood and transports it around the body where it is needed. Transferrin test results cannot be interpreted in isolation from other tests in the Iron study panel and, preferably, in full blood count.

Therefore, when iron storage around the body is low, our liver produces more transferrin. When there is an iron overload, the liver slows the transferrin production.

Low levels of transferrin may indicate that there is not enough transferrin is produced by the liver. Sometimes, the body compensates for iron overload with lower production of transferrin.

High levels of transferrin may indicate lower iron storage in the body or a liver problem.

 

Transferrin saturation

This value is calculated from the iron and transferrin results. The number represents the amount of iron that has been attached to transferrin as a percentage of transferrin’s total iron carrying capacity. Transferrin saturation is an accurate indicator of the amount of iron in the body than either iron or transferrin alone. 

Low values of transferrin saturation appear if you have iron deficiency.

High values of transferrin saturation often indicate iron overload. A higher transferrin saturation can be the early sign of haemochromatosis – a genetic disorder of iron storage.

 

Ferritin.

Ferritin is a protein that attaches to iron in order to store it, mainly, in the liver.

Low levels of ferritin almost always indicate iron deficiency.

High levels of ferritin may indicate iron overload. However, some inflammation processes, especially, inflammation of the liver may cause high levels of ferritin with no iron overload.

 

TIBS (Total Iron Binding Capacity)

TIBS or Total Iron Binding Capacity shows how much iron can stick to a protein called Transferrin. Transferrin is a protein that sticks to the iron in the blood and transports it around the body where it is needed. Therefore, TIBS test results cannot be interpreted in isolation from other tests in the Iron study panel and, preferably, in full blood count.

Low levels of TIBS may indicate that there is not enough transferrin or not enough iron to transport.

High levels of TIBS may indicate abnormally high iron storage in the body or a liver problem.

 

The Iron Study will give you an accurate record of your Iron levels. If your tests indicate high or low levels, consult your doctor.