Iron is an important mineral needed for body growth and development. It is used by your body to make hemoglobin - a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lung to other parts of the body - and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to your muscles. Iron is also important for producing hormones. We will look at your iron status, and generate a report according to your needs.
Is this test for me?
Take the Iron Test if you want to focus on your:
Not enough iron can lead you to deal with iron deficiency and anemia, whereas too much iron can be the cause of liver and heart problems. This test will allow you to keep on top of your iron levels and optimise your chances of having a healthy body.
Iron is an essential mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Iron does not freely circulate in the blood but is mainly bound to a protein made by the liver called transferrin. Our body uses iron to make haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Iron is also needed to make some hormones.
Ferritin is not the same thing as iron in your body. Instead, ferritin is a protein that stores iron, releasing it when your body needs it. Ferritin is usually found in your body’s cells, with very little circulating in your blood. The greatest concentration of ferritin is found in the liver cells and the immune system. Ferritin is stored in the body’s cells until it is needed by the body to make more red blood cells.
- Transferrin (FESA)
Transferrin is a protein produced by the liver. It is considered as the major vehicle for iron delivery to cells and is present in the circulating plasma and extravascular fluid. Transferrin transports iron through the blood to various tissues such as liver, spleen, and bone marrow. It also regulates the absorption of iron into the blood.
- Total Iron-binding capacity (TIBC)
A TIBC is a blood test that measures the quantity of iron present in your bloodstream. Iron is a mineral found in all the body’s cells and it is also present in numerous foods.
- Unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC)
An UIBC is a blood test that is often done to check either iron deficiency or iron overload. Briefly, this test helps determine the ability of transferrin to transport iron in the blood. It does so by measuring the amount of transferrin that does not already have iron attached to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can cause iron levels to change?
Iron deficiency has many causes. These causes mainly fall into two categories:
Increased iron needs — this may be related to different conditions such as pregnancy (pregnant women have higher iron needs), and people with frequent blood losses because together with blood, iron is also lost. Increased blood loss can occur with heavy menstrual periods, frequent blood donations, as well as with some stomach and intestinal conditions (food sensitivity, hookworms etc.)
Decreased iron intake or absorption — the amount of iron absorbed from the diet depends on the food source (iron from animal sources is absorbed two to three times more than iron from plants); some substances, eg. calcium, decrease iron absorption from a meal. However, for healthy individuals who consume a varied diet, the amount of iron inhibition from these substances is usually not a concern.