Why this test?
To assess iron metabolism in detail (together with a test for iron in the serum and for the total iron-binding capacity of the serum - the combination of these tests allows you to calculate the percentage of saturation of transferrin with iron, that is, to determine how much iron the blood carries). This indicator most accurately characterizes iron metabolism.
To assess the iron reserve in the body.To determine whether anemia is caused by iron deficiency or other causes, such as chronic disease or vitamin B12 deficiency. With iron deficiency, its level in the serum falls, but the level of transferrin increases.
To assess liver function.
In what cases is it prescribed?
If any deviations are detected in the general blood test, hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocyte count.If iron deficiency or excess iron in the body is suspected.
In case of suspicion of an overload of the body with iron (hemochromatosis).
Symptoms of hemochromatosis: joint and abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, decreased sexual desire, heart rhythm disturbances.
In case of suspicion of chronic liver disease or changes in intestinal absorption.
Transferrin is the main iron carrier protein in the blood plasma. It is formed in the liver from amino acids that are absorbed from food during digestion. Transferrin binds to iron, which comes with food or during the destruction of erythrocytes, and transfers it to organs and tissues (to the liver, spleen). Transferrin can bind more iron than it weighs.
Iron is an important trace element in the body. It is part of hemoglobin, a protein that fills red blood cells and allows them to carry oxygen from the lungs to organs and tissues. Iron is also part of the muscle protein myoglobin.
Normally, the body contains 4-5 g of iron, about 3-4 mg (0.1% of the total amount) circulates in the blood in combination with transferrin. As a rule, 1/3 of the binding centers of transferrin are filled with iron, the other 2/3 remain in reserve. The degree of "filling" of transferrin with iron is reflected by such indicators as the total iron-binding capacity of the serum, the latent iron-binding capacity of the serum and the percentage of transferrin saturation. With iron deficiency, the level of transferrin increases so that it can bind to even a small amount of iron in the serum. The amount of transferrin in the blood also depends on the state of the liver, human nutrition and bowel function. If the function of the liver is disturbed due to significant growth of scar tissue (cirrhosis), then the level of transferrin falls. With a lack of protein food in the diet or impaired absorption of amino acids due to inflammation in the intestines, transferrin is also not produced in sufficient quantities.