Iron and Iron Binding Capacity
Iron is transported in the body by a protein called transferrin, which is produced by the liver. It is transported to the bone marrow and is incorporated into haemoglobin of red blood cells. The remaining iron is stored in cells and tissues as ferritin or hemosiderin. Liver health and a person’s nutritional status determine the amount of transferrin in the blood. The total iron binding capacity test assesses the blood’s ability to bind and transport iron and gives a status of iron stores in the body.
Why is the test ordered?
A doctor may order the test if a person has signs and symptoms suggestive of anaemia. The test may also be ordered when other lab tests indicate the prevalence of anaemia owing to low iron levels.
When is the test ordered?
The test may be recommended when a physician suspects an iron deficiency or excess in a patient. The test may be ordered with some other test if anaemia is suspected, with CBC results indicating low levels of haemoglobin and haematocrit and the red blood cells being hypochromic and microcytic. The symptoms associated with anaemia include:
- Pale skin.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
The person taking the test is advised not to eat and drink up to 12 hours before the test.