Diagnostic Tests

Transferrin Saturation% Immunoturbidimetric Assay Photometric Blood Serum


Transferrin Saturation% Immunoturbidimetric Assay Photometric Blood Serum

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What is this test?

Transferrin saturation test is used to measure the amount of transferrin present in the blood. Transferrin saturation test is the ratio of serum iron concentration and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) expressed as a percentage. This test is an important lab marker as the body is constantly absorbing iron from foods and sending it into the blood. Transferrin helps in maintaining the excess levels of iron by binding to iron and transporting it into the cells. Thus transferrin saturation percentage shows the iron overload and used in the diagnosis of hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder) and also iron depletion in the body.

What is Transferrin?

Transferrin is a protein made 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 plays a key role in the body by helping red blood cells to carry oxygen to the other cells in your body. Almost all iron in your body is attached to transferrin.

Why this test is performed?

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

  • Iron deficiency
  • Iron overload

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 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. Alcohol abuse also interferes with the test results.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Transferrin Saturation% Immunoturbidimetric Assay Photometric Blood Serum. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Transferrin Saturation% Immunoturbidimetric Assay Photometric Blood Serum.

No specific preparation is required for transferrin saturation test.

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 overload which leads to hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder with iron overload), hemolytic anemia (where red blood cells are destroyed), nephrotic syndrome (loss of protein in urine), cirrhosis (scarring and damage to liver), megaloblastic anemia (unusually large and immature cells called megaloblasts), thalassemia (less number of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin), aplastic anemia (condition where new blood cells are not produced), hepatitis, etc.

If your test results are lower than the normal range, it may indicate hemolytic anemia or liver disease or iron-deficiency anemia, chronic infections, uremia (high levels of urea in the blood), advanced malignancy, collagen vascular disease (inflammation of collagen in joints), etc.

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

GenderAge groupsValue
MALEAll age groups15 to 50%
FEMALEAll age groups12 to 45%
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