Test Detail
Understanding the Test
Test Measures
Interpreting Results
City Price Info
Home Collection
Other Tests
Content created by
Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
Want to know more?
Read our Editorial Policy

Total Iron Binding Capacity

Also known as Serum Iron-Binding Capacity
299380 21% Off
You need to provide
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. Overnight fasting is preferred.
  2. Avoid iron supplements for at least 24 hours prior to sample collection.

Understanding Total Iron Binding Capacity

What is Total Iron Binding Capacity?

A Total Iron Binding Capacity test helps to assess the ability of blood to attach to iron and transport it to various parts of the body. It shows the total binding capacity of transferrin, the protein in the blood that is essential to bind iron and facilitate its movement in the body. Doctors use this test to help determine iron deficiency or iron overload.

Iron is an important nutrient required to perform numerous bodily functions. Iron helps produce healthy red blood cells (RBCs). It is a crucial part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that combines with oxygen and is transported to various body parts. Besides these, iron provides energy, improves concentration, promotes healthier nails, skin, and hair, strengthens the immune system, etc. Usually, the body cannot produce iron by itself and thus it is absorbed from the foods we eat or from supplements.

Iron is transported throughout the body by transferrin, largely produced by the liver. Transferrin is a protein that attaches iron molecules and transports iron in the blood plasma. In a healthy person, most iron is incorporated into the hemoglobin within developing RBCs in the bone marrow. The remaining amount is stored in the tissues as ferritin or hemosiderin. A Total Iron Binding Capacity test is typically used along with iron and ferritin tests to evaluate if you are suspected of having too much or too little iron stored in your body. Signs and symptoms associated with low iron levels may include pale skin, fatigue, headaches, weakness, brittle nails, etc, while those associated with excess iron may include joint pain, abdominal pain, low sex drive, damage to the heart or liver, etc. 

Usually, overnight fasting is preferred but not mandatory before undergoing a Total Iron Binding Capacity test. However, it is also important to inform the doctor about any of the medicines you are taking, especially iron supplements, as some of them may affect your iron levels and need to be adjusted or temporarily discontinued before the test.

Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Discuss your symptoms and specific test results with your doctor to help them correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help the doctor determine your medical condition, recommend lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medications are required to manage your condition and formulate your overall treatment plan. 

Note: Though TIBC is a reflection of the amount of transferrin available, TIBC and transferrin are not synonymous.

What is Total Iron Binding Capacity used for?

A Total Iron Binding Capacity test can be done:

  • As part of iron studies.

  • To determine the capacity of the blood to transport iron.

  • In case of abnormal results hemoglobin and hematocrit on complete blood count.

  • In case of signs and symptoms of iron deficiency such as chronic fatigue/tiredness, dizziness, weakness, headaches, pale skin (pallor), etc.

  • In case of signs and symptoms of iron overload such as joint pain, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, lack of energy, abdominal pain, loss of sex drive, organ damage, such as in the heart and/or liver, etc.

  • To monitor ongoing treatment for iron deficiency anemia or iron overload.

What does Total Iron Binding Capacity measure?

A Total Iron Binding Capacity test measures the ability of your blood to bind and transport iron, and therefore reflects your body's iron stores. TIBC correlates with the amount of transferrin, a protein, in your blood, that helps bind iron and facilitates its transportation in the blood. Usually, about one-third of the transferrin measured is being used to transport iron, and this is called transferrin saturation.

Interpreting Total Iron Binding Capacity results


Normal Range: 250 to 425µg/dL

TIBC Test results are usually interpreted in combination with other iron tests as follows:





Transferrin Saturation








Iron Deficiency






Hemochromatosis, Hemosiderosis






Chronic Illness






Hemolytic Anemia






Sideroblastic Anemia






Iron Poisoning

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Total Iron Binding Capacity

Frequently Asked Questions about Total Iron Binding Capacity

Q. When do I need a Total Iron Binding Capacity?

You may need a Total Iron Binding Capacity if your doctor suspects you may have too much or too little iron in your body. Symptoms of these conditions can include fatigue, weakness, unusual cravings, and difficulty concentrating.

Q. What information does the Total Iron Binding Capacity test provide?

The Total Iron Binding Capacity test measures the amount of iron that the blood would carry if the transferrin were fully saturated with iron. It gives an estimate of the body's ability to bind and transport iron.

Q. How does Total Iron Binding Capacity relate to iron in the body?

Total Iron Binding Capacity is a measure of the maximum amount of iron that can be bound by proteins (mainly transferrin) in the blood. Thus, it provides an indirect measure of the body's iron stores. When iron levels are low, TIBC is usually high, and when iron levels are high, TIBC is usually low.

Q. What factors can affect TIBC Test results?

Factors that can affect TIBC Test results include anemia, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, recent blood transfusion, malnutrition, liver diseases, inflammation, etc.

Q. What additional tests can be prescribed in case of abnormal TIBC test results?

Additional tests that may be prescribed in case of abnormal TIBC Test result are: · unsaturated iron binding capacity test, ferritin test, complete blood count, hemoglobin and hematocrit test and liver function test.

Q. What are the possible causes of iron deficiency?

Common causes of iron deficiency include not getting enough iron in your diet, chronic blood loss, pregnancy, and vigorous exercise.

Q. What is iron-deficiency anemia?

The iron-deficiency anemia is a condition in which your body does not have enough iron to make hemoglobin. Iron deficiency symptoms, such as fatigue, extreme weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, etc., may develop over time. Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements to treat iron-deficiency anemia.

Q. What is iron overload and how can it be prevented?

Iron overload is a condition that occurs when there is too much iron in the blood, which can damage organs. It can be prevented by not taking excessive iron supplements and monitoring iron levels.

Q. What are the signs and symptoms of iron overload?

The signs and symptoms of iron overload include joint pain, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, lack of energy, abdominal pain, loss of sex drive, and damage to organs such as the heart or liver.

Q. What are the natural food sources of iron?

Spinach, broccoli, lentils, peas, figs, dates, dark chocolate, tofu, and eggs are some of the natural food sources of iron.
+ more

Total Iron Binding Capacity test price for other cities

Price inBangaloreRs. 299
Price inKolkataRs. 299
Price inHyderabadRs. 299
Price inGurgaonRs. 299
Price inPuneRs. 299
+ more

Book Total Iron Binding Capacity at-home

Easy online booking
Search for tests and packages, book a time and select address for seamless at-home lab tests.
Live tracking of phlebotomist
Stay informed with live tracking of our phlebotomist's location for seamless sample collection.
Safe collection
Our phlebotomists follow strict safety protocols to collect samples at home on time.
Sample received at lab
Your sample is bought to our laboratory for testing by our qualified experts.
Quick reports, free follow up
Reports are sent to your email. A free doctor follow up is provided to understand the report better.


  1. Iron and Total Iron-Binding Capacity [Internet]. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Medical Center; [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=iron_total_iron_binding_capacity External Link
  2. Iron [Internet]. NIH; 15 Jun. 2023. [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/ External Link
  3. How is Iron-Deficiency Anemia Diagnosed? [Internet]. HOA; [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://www.hoacny.com/patient-resources/blood-disorders/what-iron-deficiency-anemia/how-iron-deficiency-anemia-diagnosed External Link
  4. Mahant H, Jain S, Patel A, Lapani B. Appropriate Method of TIBC Estimation in Reference to Serum Transferrin Levels. J Lab Physicians. 2022 Aug 17;15(1):25-30. [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10104694/ External Link
  5. Chen Y, Wan J, Xia H, Li Y, Xu Y, Lin H, Iftikhar H. Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is a potential biomarker of left ventricular remodelling for patients with iron deficiency anaemia. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2020 Jan 8;20(1):4. [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947819/ External Link
  6. Jimenez K, Kulnigg-Dabsch S, Gasche C. Management of Iron Deficiency Anemia. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2015 Apr;11(4):241-50. PMID: 27099596; PMCID: PMC4836595. [Accessed 02 Jan. 2024]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836595/ External Link
  7. McDowell LA, Kudaravalli P, Sticco KL. Iron Overload. [Updated 2022 Apr 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526131/ External Link


Orders Delivered
Get the link to download App

All products displayed on Tata 1mg are procured from verified and licensed pharmacies. All labs listed on the platform are accredited


Tata 1mg uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption and is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant


Find affordable medicine substitutes, save up to 50% on health products, up to 80% off on lab tests and free doctor consultations.

Know more about Tata 1mgdownArrow

Access medical and health information

Tata 1mg provides you with medical information which is curated, written and verified by experts, accurate and trustworthy. Our experts create high-quality content about medicines, diseases, lab investigations, Over-The-Counter (OTC) health products, Ayurvedic herbs/ingredients, and alternative remedies.

Order medicines online

Get free medicine home delivery in over 1800 cities across India. You can also order Ayurvedic, Homeopathic and other Over-The-Counter (OTC) health products. Your safety is our top priority. All products displayed on Tata 1mg are procured from verified and licensed pharmacies.

Book lab tests

Book any lab tests and preventive health packages from certified labs and get tested from the comfort of your home. Enjoy free home sample collection, view reports online and consult a doctor online for free.

Consult a doctor online

Got a health query? Consult doctors online from the comfort of your home for free. Chat privately with our registered medical specialists to connect directly with verified doctors. Your privacy is guaranteed.