What is Iron Studies?
Iron studies comprise three tests which include serum transferrin, iron serum, and total iron-binding capacity. Iron is an essential micronutrient that plays a number of roles critical to survival, including transport of oxygen in the Red Blood Cells (RBCs). The protein that plays the primary role in transporting iron absorbed from diet to different parts of the body is called Transferrin.
Why is Iron Studies done?
The Iron studies test is done:
To confirm anemia due to iron deficiency detected in routine checkups
To determine iron deficiency or overload in the body
To determine the capacity of the blood to transport iron
What does Iron Studies Measure?
The iron studies test measures three components which include serum transferrin, iron serum, and total iron-binding capacity. Iron is an essential micronutrient that is required by the body in trace amounts. Iron plays essential roles in a number of body activities, the most important of which is in the formation and functioning of Red Blood Cells or RBCs. Iron can only be consumed by diet as it is not produced by the body. Iron is an integral part of a protein called hemoglobin in the RBCs, which transports oxygen from the lungs to other body tissues. Most of the iron obtained from food is converted to hemoglobin in the RBCs, as only a small quantity of iron is required by the body. Free iron in excess quantities is toxic, hence most of the excess iron absorbed from food is stored as proteins ferritin and hemosiderin, and a small amount as myoglobin and as enzymes.
The protein Transferrin transports iron to different parts of the body for utilization or storage. It is produced by the liver. 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, and its levels decrease in the 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 availability of iron is usually dependant on both transferrin and ferritin levels simultaneously. Thus, 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:
Iron Serum Test measures the levels of iron present in the blood.
Serum Transferrin Test measures the levels of transferrin present in blood both bound and unbound with iron.
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Iron Studies
Frequently Asked Questions about Iron Studies
Tests Included (3 tests)
- Serum Transferrin
- Iron Serum