Iron itself is not the most accurate test as it fluctuates with food intake and inflammation. So it is tested with other blood values for a comprehensive assessment.

 

Iron

Is the amount available in the blood for the body to used. Remember this maybe caused by direct blood loss, whether that be monthly or abnormal bleeding inside the digestive system – stomach by ulcers, NSAIDS, intestines by hookworm, and large bowel by tumours, ulcerative colitis and haemorrhoids.

Or you may not be having enough iron in your diet or unable to absorb it due to low stomach acid or the use of Ant-acids.

 

Transferrin

Tells us how hungry your cells are for Iron and we can think of this like an Iron Taxis

High levels may indicate that the cells are looking for more Iron and have the Iron Taxi’s at the read and waiting to be filled with Iron.

A high transferrin may indicate:

  • Iron deficiency
  • High Oestrogens
  • Using the OCP
  • Pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • B12 or folate deficiency
  • Acute liver disease

Low Levels of the Transferrin are usually because there is a drain on the supply, just like at midnight when you want a Taxi home and there are none available.

  • Chronic inflammatory and liver disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Malignancy
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Steroid therapy
  • Haemochromatosis       

 

Transferrin Saturation (%)

Shows the amount of Iron that is going to the tissues and it’s like the number of passengers in each Iron taxis (Transferrin).  This should between 10-50%. The closer to 50% the is result is the better. 

Ferritin

Is your iron stores.  The optimal result is 100 to 150.  This is also affected by inflammation.  Think of this as the Iron at the depot waiting for a taxi

Low levels maybe from the same as low levels of Iron as they are draining the Iron stores.

Reasons for a high level of Ferritin is:

  • Iron overload like genetic haemochromatosis
  • Fatty liver
  • Alcohol
  • Liver disease
  • Malignancy
  • Renal failure
  • Thyroiditis
  • Anorexia
  • Blood infusion

As mentioned, Iron levels and Ferritin can be affected by inflammation, so it is always a good idea to have a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test done at the same time as your Iron to double-check that you are getting the right information before an accurate assessment can be made.

 

Pathocize (exercise for your pathology)

Ensuring you have good levels of Iron, check for anyone with haemochromatosis in your family. This can be masked while still having your menses and is revealed during menopause.

 

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