Description: Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity is a blood panel used to determine iron levels in your blood, your body’s ability to transport iron, and help diagnose iron-deficiency and iron overload.
Also Known As: Serum Iron Test, Serum Fe Test, Iron Binding Capacity Test, IBC Test, Serum Iron-Binding Capacity Siderophilin Test, TIBC Test, UIBC Test, Iron Lab Test, TIBC Blood test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When is a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test ordered?
When a doctor feels that a person's symptoms are caused by iron overload or poisoning, an iron and TIBC test, as well ferritin assays, may be done. These may include the following:
- Joint discomfort
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Energy deficiency
- Pain in the abdomen
- Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
- Problems with the heart
When a child is suspected of ingesting too many iron tablets, a serum iron test is required to detect the poisoning and to determine its severity.
A doctor may also request iron and TIBC when the results of a standard CBC test are abnormal, such as a low hematocrit or hemoglobin, or when a doctor suspects iron deficiency based on signs and symptoms such as:
- Chronic tiredness/fatigue
- Skin that is pale
What does a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity blood test check for?
Iron is a necessary ingredient for survival. It is a vital component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds and releases oxygen in the lungs and throughout the body. It is required in small amounts to help form normal red blood cells and is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body.
By detecting numerous components in the blood, iron tests are ordered to determine the quantity of iron in the body. These tests are frequently ordered at the same time, and the data are analyzed together to determine the diagnosis and/or monitor iron deficiency or overload.
The level of iron in the liquid component of the blood is measured by serum iron.
Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin.
The percentage of transferrin that has not yet been saturated is measured by the UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.
Low iron levels can cause anemia, resulting in a decrease in the production of microcytic and hypochromic RBCs. Large amounts of iron, on the other hand, might be hazardous to the body. When too much iron is absorbed over time, iron compounds build up in tissues, particularly the liver, heart, and pancreas.
Normally, iron is absorbed from food and distributed throughout the body by binding to transferrin, a liver protein. About 70% of the iron delivered is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The rest is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the tissues, with minor amounts being utilized to make other proteins like myoglobin and enzymes.
Insufficient intake, limited absorption, or increased dietary requirements, as observed during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss, are all signs of iron deficiency. Excessive intake of iron pills can cause acute iron overload, especially in children. Excessive iron intake, genetic hemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions, and a few other disorders can cause chronic iron overload.
Lab tests often ordered with a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test:
- Complete Blood Count
- Zinc Protoporphyrin
Conditions where a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test is recommended:
How does my health care provider use a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test?
The amount of circulating iron in the blood, the capacity of the blood to carry iron, and the amount of stored iron in tissues can all be determined by ordering one or more tests. Testing can also assist distinguish between different types of anemia
The level of iron in the blood is measured by serum iron.
Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin. The TIBC test is a useful indirect assessment of transferrin because it is the predominant iron-binding protein. In response to the requirement for iron, the body generates transferrin. Transferrin levels rise when iron levels are low, and vice versa. About one-third of the binding sites on transferrin are used to transport iron in healthy humans.
The reserve capacity of transferrin, or the part of transferrin that has not yet been saturated, is measured by UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.
The iron test result, as well as TIBC or UIBC, are used to calculate transferrin saturation. It represents the proportion of transferrin that is iron-saturated.
Ferritin is the major storage protein for iron inside cells, and serum ferritin represents the quantity of stored iron in the body.
These tests are frequently ordered together, and the results can assist the doctor figure out what's causing the iron deficit or overload.
Additional information about iron
A balance between the quantity of iron received into the body and the amount of iron lost is required to maintain normal iron levels. Because a tiny quantity of iron is lost each day, a deficiency will develop if too little iron is consumed. In healthy persons, there is usually enough iron to prevent iron deficiency and/or iron deficiency anemia, unless they eat a bad diet. There is a greater need for iron in some circumstances. People who have persistent gut bleeding or women who have heavy menstrual periods lose more iron than they should and can develop iron deficiency. Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding lose iron to their babies and may develop an iron shortage if they do not consume enough supplemental iron. Children may require additional iron, especially during periods of rapid growth, and may suffer iron shortage.
Low serum iron can also arise when the body is unable to adequately utilize iron. The body cannot correctly utilize iron to generate additional red cells in many chronic disorders, particularly malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic infections. As a result, transferrin production slows, serum iron levels drop because little iron is absorbed from the stomach, and ferritin levels rise. Malabsorption illnesses like sprue syndrome can cause iron deficiency.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.