Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.


Ferritin is a protein found inside cells that stores iron so your body can use it later. A ferritin test indirectly measures the amount of iron in your blood. The amount of ferritin in your blood (serum ferritin level) is directly related to the amount of iron stored in your body.

Also known as: Iron and TIBC, Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity TIBC, TIBC

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Iron Binding Capacity

Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is a blood test to see if you may have too much or too little iron in the blood. Iron moves through the blood attached to a protein called transferrin. This test helps your doctor know how well that protein can carry iron in the blood.

Iron, Total

Iron is a mineral that our bodies need for many functions. For example, iron is part of hemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. It helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is also part of many other proteins and enzymes. Your body needs the right amount of iron. If you have too little iron, you may develop iron deficiency anemia. Causes of low iron levels include blood loss, poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from foods. People at higher risk of having too little iron are young children and women who are pregnant or have periods.
*Important Information on Lab Test Processing Times: Ulta Lab Tests is committed to informing you about the processing times for your lab tests processed through Quest Diagnostics. Please note that the estimated processing time for each test, indicated in business days, is based on data from the past 30 days across the 13 Quest Diagnostics laboratories for each test. These estimates are intended to serve as a guide and are not guarantees. Factors such as laboratory workload, weather conditions, holidays, and the need for additional testing or maintenance can influence actual processing times. We aim to offer estimates to help you plan accordingly. Please understand that these times may vary, and processing times are not guaranteed. Thank you for choosing Ulta Lab Tests for your laboratory needs.

The Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel panel contains 2 tests with 4 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel is a suite of tests designed to evaluate the body's iron storage and transport. Iron is an essential mineral critical for various physiological functions, including the production of hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. By measuring ferritin levels alongside iron and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), this panel offers a comprehensive look at how the body stores, uses, and transports iron.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: The patient should be fasting 9-12 hours prior to collection and collection should be done in the morning

When and Why the Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel May Be Ordered

The Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel might be ordered in the following scenarios:

  1. Suspected Iron Deficiency or Overload: If a patient exhibits symptoms of iron deficiency (like fatigue, weakness, pallor) or iron overload.

  2. Chronic Illness: Some chronic diseases can affect iron metabolism, and this panel may be used to monitor these conditions.

  3. Monitoring Response to Treatment: For patients receiving iron therapy, whether due to deficiency or certain chronic conditions, the test can gauge the effectiveness of the treatment.

  4. General Health Check-up: It can be part of routine health screenings, especially if there's a family history of iron-related disorders.

What the Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel Checks For

  • Ferritin: This test measures the amount of ferritin in the blood, which is a protein that stores iron inside cells. Ferritin levels can indicate how much iron is stored in the body and available for use.

  • Iron: This test directly gauges the amount of iron present in the blood. Iron is essential for many bodily functions, including the formation of hemoglobin.

  • Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC): TIBC calculates the maximum amount of iron that blood proteins can transport. This mainly reflects the protein transferrin, which binds to iron and carries it in the blood.

Other Lab Tests Often Ordered Alongside the Ferritin, Iron & Total Iron Binding Capacity Panel:

When a Ferritin, Iron, and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) Panel is ordered, it is typically done to evaluate iron status in the body, diagnose iron deficiency anemia, or assess iron overload conditions such as hemochromatosis. To gain a comprehensive understanding of a patient's iron metabolism and related health conditions, additional tests are often included. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside this panel:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health, including red and white blood cells and platelets.
    • Why Is It Ordered: A CBC can indicate anemia, with specific changes in red blood cells (like low mean corpuscular volume, MCV) suggesting iron deficiency anemia.
  2. Serum Transferrin:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of transferrin in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To further assess iron transport capacity, as transferrin levels increase in iron deficiency and decrease in iron overload.
  3. Hemoglobin and Hematocrit:

    • Purpose: To measure the amount of hemoglobin in the blood and the proportion of blood made up of red blood cells.
    • Why Is It Ordered: These are key indicators of anemia. Low levels can be a result of chronic iron deficiency.
  4. Reticulocyte Count:

    • Purpose: To measure the number of reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess bone marrow response to anemia. In iron deficiency anemia, the count may be lower than expected.
  5. Vitamin B12 and Folate Tests:

    • Purpose: To measure levels of these vitamins.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Deficiencies in vitamin B12 or folate can also cause anemia, sometimes with a presentation similar to iron deficiency anemia.
  6. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR):

    • Purpose: To measure markers of inflammation.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Inflammation can affect iron levels and erythropoiesis (red blood cell production), so these tests can help distinguish between anemia of chronic disease and iron deficiency anemia.
  7. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: The liver plays a role in iron metabolism, and liver diseases can affect iron storage and transport.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Ferritin, Iron, and TIBC Panel, provide a comprehensive evaluation of iron metabolism, anemia, and related health conditions. They are crucial for diagnosing the cause of anemia, assessing the risk of iron overload, and guiding treatment decisions. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual's symptoms, clinical history, and the results of initial tests.

Conditions or Diseases the Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel Can Check For

This panel can be instrumental in diagnosing and monitoring several iron-related conditions:

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia: This occurs when the body lacks enough iron to produce sufficient red blood cells. Low iron and ferritin levels with an increased TIBC are typical indicators.

  • Iron Overload or Hemochromatosis: This condition happens when there's excessive iron accumulation in the body, potentially damaging organs. High iron and ferritin levels with a decreased TIBC can signal this disorder.

  • Chronic Disease Anemia: Certain chronic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease or inflammatory disorders, can affect iron metabolism. The panel can help differentiate this from iron-deficiency anemia.

  • Liver Disease: As ferritin is stored in the liver, abnormal ferritin levels might also indicate liver damage.

By evaluating the iron storage, transport, and binding capacities, the Ferritin, Iron and TIBC Panel provides essential insights into a person's iron status, enabling accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of related conditions.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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