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  2. 2. Visit a Lab

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  3. 3. Get Your Results

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Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) Test

The Total Iron Binding Capacity Test or TIBC test measures levels of iron in the blood and provides physicians more metrics and a better insight than a simple iron test.

Order Test
Test Preparation:
Fasting is required (i.e. no eating or drinking anything besides water for 8 hours prior to testing). Morning collection recommended.
Testing Method:
Blood draw

The Total Iron Binding Capacity Test or TIBC test measures levels of iron in the blood and provides physicians more metrics and a better insight than a simple iron test. A substance called “transferrin” is responsible for moving iron throughout the body and this test breaks down how much iron is needed to saturate transferrin. Low iron levels can be indicative of an iron deficiency and/or anemia whereas high levels can lead to liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or hyperthyroidism. Our Total Iron Binding Capacity Test will provide the necessary information to give a complete picture of your iron levels.

How Our Total Iron Binding Capacity Test Works

For our Iron & Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) test, simply place your order online and stop by one of our 4000+ nationwide testing facilities at your convenience (no appointments). A member of the center’s staff will collect a small blood sample via the skin prick method, at which point your part of the process is done.

The sample collection itself takes only a few minutes, and most patients are in and out and about their day in under half an hour. From there, your sample will be processed in a CLIA-certified laboratory, and in as little as 24-72 hours, you’ll have full results regarding the levels of iron in your body.

Common Symptoms of Abnormal Iron Levels

Iron is an essential mineral found in every cell of the body. It’s vital for cell growth, development, and normal body functions. Your body gets the iron it needs through your diet. The mineral is present in numerous foods, including whole grains, seafood, poultry, leafy greens such as spinach, and eggs.

The body also loses iron, typically through sweat and menstrual blood. Losing too much iron can lead to iron deficiency, one of the most common types of nutritional deficiency in the world. Shortage of iron in the body is usually the cause of anemia. Common symptoms of iron deficiency include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Constantly feeling tired or weak
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Pale skin
  • Swollen tongue
  • Falling sick a lot
  • Delayed mental development in children
  • Difficulty concentrating

Iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years, leading to a condition known as Haemochromatosis. Too much iron in the body (iron overload) can also cause unpleasant symptoms. Here are the most common signs of high iron levels:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful joints
  • Tiredness and feeling weak
  • Loss of body hair
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Low sex drive

Often genetic, Hemochromatosis can be life-threatening. Your body stores the excess iron in your liver, heart, and pancreas. If left untreated, iron overload can cause serious damage to these organs, leading to conditions such as liver disease, heart problems, and diabetes.

How to Interpret Your Results

Our TIBC test gauges the level of iron in your bloodstream. If you are experiencing the symptoms of abnormal iron levels, we recommend that you take our TIBC test. Your healthcare provider will also order a TIBC test if you have the symptoms of high or low iron.

The results of our TIBC test may seem a little confusing at first glance. Not to worry, though, as we strive to make interpreting the results as straightforward as possible. When reviewing your results, you’ll find a results chart declaring the iron levels in your blood. Abnormal values — above or below the normal range — will be flagged. 

What Are the Possible Complications of High or Low Iron Levels?

Abnormal levels of iron in the bloodstream can lead to a broad range of health issues. Too little iron in the body, or iron deficiency, causes anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia can also worsen other chronic conditions. On the other hand, too much of the mineral can lead to life-threatening conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and liver problems.


  • Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) is a blood test to see if you have too much or too little iron in your bloodstream. The TIBC test will also show how well iron is functioning in your body.

  • Your doctor may recommend an Iron & Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) test if you have symptoms of anemia due to low iron. Your healthcare provider may also order a TIBC test if they suspect you have too much iron in your blood.

  • There may be a moderate pain or sting when drawing blood for the test, barely noticeable in most cases. You may also feel a slight bruise and throbbing afterward, but this sensation usually goes away quickly.

  • To ensure the most accurate results, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the TIBC test. If you are on any medication, talk to your doctor before taking this test because certain medicines can alter test results.