TIBC, Transferrin, Total Iron-Binding Capacity

This is a test to learn about your body's ability to transport iron. Your caregiver may do this when they suspect you may have too much or too little iron in your body because of a variety of conditions. The test also helps to monitor liver function and nutrition.

TIBC measures the total capacity of your blood to transport iron. TIBC correlates with the amount of the protein transferrin in your blood. Transferrin is a protein that attaches iron molecules and transports iron to the blood plasma. Transferrin is largely made in the liver and regulates your body's iron absorption into the blood.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Iron

  • Male: 80-180 mcg/dL or 14-32 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Female: 60-160 mcg/dL or 11-29 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Newborn: 100-250 mcg/dL

  • Child: 50-120 mcg/dL

  • TIBC

  • 250-460 mcg/dL or 45-82 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Transferrin

  • Adult male: 215-365 mg/dL or 2.15-3.65 g/L (SI units)

  • Adult female: 250-380 mg/dL or 2.50-3.80 g/L (SI units)

  • Newborn: 130-275 mg/dL

  • Child: 203-360 mg/dL

  • Transferrin Saturation

  • Males: 20% to 50%

  • Females: 15% to 50%

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.