Last reviewed 02/2018

Reference values:

  • total iron binding capacity 45-72 micromoles per litre
  • total iron binding capacity saturation 30-50%

Total iron binding capacity is a measure of the total amount of iron with which plasma can combine. Most of the binding capacity is due to transferrin.

TIBC is increased in iron deficiency, pregnancy and by oral contraceptive therapy.

TIBC is decreased in:

  • iron overload
  • protein losing states } due to the fall in
  • infections } plasma transferrin
  • inflammation }
  • neoplastic disease }

TIBC saturation tends to fall as serum ferritin increases and vice versa.