Also known as Total Iron Binding Capacity Blood
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What is this test?

The total iron-binding capacity test evaluates the body’s ability to bind itself to iron and transport it around the body and the amount of iron present in your blood. This test helps in diagnosing iron deficiency or iron overload in the body.

Iron is a very important mineral needed by your body to stay healthy. The body requires iron to prepare hemoglobin, the protein present in red blood cells which carries oxygen to various parts of the body. When the body lacks iron, hemoglobin may not be produced sufficiently. This condition is called iron-deficiency anemia. Iron binds to a protein called transferrin which is produced by the liver. When the storage of iron in the body runs low, the liver produces more amount of transferrin in order to increase iron in the blood. Iron is also required by muscles, which contain oxygen-binding proteins called myoglobins.

This test may be recommended to you for any of these two reasons:

Iron deficiency

Symptoms of iron deficiency include: Delayed mental development in children, failing to keep up in school, frequent infections, feeling tired and weak, pale skin, headaches, irritability, shortness of breath, swollen tongue, feeling cold, etc.

Iron overload

Symptoms of iron overload include: Joint aches, stomach pain, tiredness and weakness, weight loss, loss of body hair, loss of sex drive, etc.


Some conditions may interfere with your test results like a recent blood transfusion or on iron replacement therapy. Some medicines like antacids (pantoprazole, ranitidine), NSAIDs (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin), etc also lead to bleeding in the digestive tract, birth control pills, chloramphenicol, fluorides, etc. Foods which are high in iron like meat, eggs, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, etc, cereals, wheat germ, raisins, whole grain bread, molasses, beans or drinking milk, blood donation or physical activity can also interfere with your results.

Also known as TIBC Test, Serum Total Iron Binding Capacity Blood, Serum Total Iron Binding Capacity, Total Iron Binding Capacity.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your TIBC. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for TIBC.

For this test, you may be recommended to fast for 8 hours prior to the test or this test may be done in the early morning with an empty stomach.

Understanding your test results

The normal test results may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.

If your test results are higher than the normal range, it may indicate iron deficiency anemia, late pregnancy, etc

If your test results are lower than the normal range, it may indicate hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder with iron overload), hemolytic anemia (where red blood cells are destroyed), pernicious anemia (where there is a decrease in red blood cells and lack of vitamin B12 absorption), sickle cell anemia (inherited disorder where red blood cells are in sickle shape and die soon), liver disease, inflammation, hypoproteinemia (where protein levels are low), malnutrition, nephrotic syndrome (loss of protein in urine), etc.

If you get abnormal test results, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your results.

GenderAge groupsValue
OTHERAll age groups240 - 450mcg/dl
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