Transferrin saturation (Iron Saturation)

Blood Health

A healthy result should fall into the range 15 - 55 %.

Aka: Iron Saturation, Serum Transferrin Saturation, Transferrin Saturation, Transferrin Iron Saturation, Serum Iron to TIBC Ratio

Transferrin is a protein that binds to iron and carries it through the blood. Transferrin saturation, abbreviated TS and measured as a percentage, is the ratio of serum iron and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC). TS is a more useful indicator of iron status than just iron or TIBC alone. In iron deficiency, the iron level is low but the TIBC is increased, thus transferrin saturation becomes very low. In iron overload states, such as hemochromatosis, the iron level will be high and the TIBC will be low or normal, causing transferrin saturation to increase. It is customary to test for transferrin saturation when evaluating a person’s nutritional status or liver function. Transferrin saturation levels may also be used in the diagnoses of anemia.

The most common symptoms of anemia include:

- Chronic fatigue / tiredness

- Dizziness

- Weakness

- Headaches

- Pale skin

When a healthcare professional suspects that a person may have iron overload or when a person has a family history of hemochromatosis, iron and TIBC may be ordered along with a transferrin saturation test. Symptoms of iron overload will vary from person to person and tend to worsen over time; they may include:

- Join pain

- Fatigue, weakness

- Weight loss

- Lack of energy         

- Abdominal pain

- Loss of sex drive

- Loss of hair

- Heart problems

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