About The Test
What is TIBC?
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) test helps to check the iron binding capacity of a protein transferrin. It helps to diagnose excess or deficiency of iron in the blood. This test is recommended if a doctor suspects the symptoms of iron deficiency or excess such as fatigue, hair loss, paleness, delayed mental growth, irregular heart rhythm, weight loss and joints pain.
Lack of iron in diet, pregnancy or excessive menstrual blood loss can lead to iron deficiency. Genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia, hemolytic anemia, hemochromatosis and liver damage can cause iron toxicity .
Why is TIBC done?
The TIBC Test is performed:
- To confirm anemia due to iron deficiency detected in routine checkups
- To determine excess or deficiency of iron in the body
- To determine the capacity of the blood to transport iron
What does TIBC Measure?
Iron is an essential micronutrient that is required by the body in trace amounts. Iron plays an essential role in a number of body activities. The most important role of iron is that it regulates the formation and functioning of red blood cells or RBCs. Iron is an integral part of a protein called hemoglobin present in the RBCs. RBCs transport oxygen from the lungs to other body tissues.
Iron is not produced by the body and its only source is diet. Only a minute quantity of iron is required by the body. Most of the iron obtained from the food is found in hemoglobin present inside the RBCs. Excess iron absorbed from food is stored as ferritin, and a small amount is present in myoglobin and enzymes. Ferritin is stored in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and skeletal muscles. When the iron level in the blood drops, it is recovered from these stored iron reserves.
The protein transferrin is produced by the liver and transports iron to different parts of the body for utilization or storage. Low levels of transferrin can impair the transport of iron for utilization or storage and may give rise to symptoms of iron deficiency or overdose. Transferrin is a negative acute phase reactant which means that its level decreases in case of inflammation in the body. It is the primary iron-transporting protein in the body and most of the free iron remains bound to it.
The following tests are performed apart from the Total Iron Binding Capacity Test to measure the iron levels of the body and results are interpreted accordingly:
- Serum Iron Test measures the levels of iron present in the blood.
- Transferrin Test measures the levels of transferrin present in blood both bound and unbound with iron.
- Unsaturated Iron Binding Capacity (UIBC) Test measures the transferrin reserve of the body, or the amount of transferrin not saturated with iron.
- Transferrin Saturation Test is performed to determine the amount of transferrin that is saturated with iron. In normal conditions, approximately one-third of transferrin is bound to and saturated with iron.
- Ferritin Test measures the amount of the protein ferritin in blood. Ferritin is the primary iron storage protein of the body.