Blood test

Low TIBC level in the blood

Blood test
Low TIBC level in the blood

What is low TIBC level called?

  • TIBC low

What is the normal TIBC level in the blood?

If you need to know which are the TIBC reference ranges or you require more information about the role of TIBC in the blood you can visit: Normal TIBC level in the blood

What does a low TIBC mean?

TIBC is the acronym of Total Iron Binding Capacity. TIBC is an assay to know indirectly the amount of transferrin present in the blood. Transferrin is a protein produced in the liver that carries iron through the bloodstream.

A low value of TIBC may be a sign of inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), infection or liver disorder (cirrhosis). The study of TIBC lets differentiate the iron-deficiency anemia from the anemia of chronic disease (diabetes, liver or kidney disease, cancer, etc.). In anemia of chronic disease, TIBC will be lower than normal. In iron-deficiency anemia, TIBC will be higher than normal.

If iron and ferritin in the blood are higher than normal it may be a sign of hemochromatosis, a disease where iron accumulates in different organs.

  • Mild TIBC decrease (200 - 250 µg/dl in adults):

    TIBC is a bit low and it is a sign that the transferrin level in the blood is low.

    It is adequate to study the rest of the iron related parameters, such as serum iron, ferritin or transferrin saturation to give a proper diagnosis.

    If those parameters are in the normal ranges, it is not a matter for concern. If those parameters are altered, you should visit your doctor.

  • Marked TIBC decrease (<200 µg/dl in adults):

    TIBC is extremely low. It may be a sign of a liver disorder such as cirrhosis that is altering the normal production of transferrin in the liver. If ferritin is high may suggest this situation.

    You should visit your doctor and he will decide if it is advisable to perform additional screening tests to get a diagnosis.

Which factors can reduce the TIBC?

There are some circumstances and drugs than can reduce your TIBC:

  • Malnutrition
  • Drugs
    • Bacteriostatic agent
      • Chloramphenicol
    • Glucocorticoid
      • Adrenocorticotropic hormone

Which diseases can reduce your TIBC?

Lower than normal TIBC can be due to:

  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Hepatic cirrhosis
  • Kidney failure
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hypoproteinemia
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia

What can I do to increase the TIBC level in the blood?

A low value of TIBC (low transferrin level in the blood) is usually secondary to other diseases and health problems (infection, inflammation). For this reason, the best tip to return to a normal range of TIBC is to look for and solve the underlying cause.

Where can I find more information about TIBC level in the blood?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a low TIBC level in the blood?

The following values are considered to be below the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in µg/dL. They are an example of a healthy woman of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

Mild TIBC decrease
249 µg/dL248 µg/dL247 µg/dL246 µg/dL245 µg/dL244 µg/dL243 µg/dL242 µg/dL
241 µg/dL240 µg/dL239 µg/dL238 µg/dL237 µg/dL236 µg/dL235 µg/dL234 µg/dL
233 µg/dL232 µg/dL231 µg/dL230 µg/dL229 µg/dL228 µg/dL227 µg/dL226 µg/dL
225 µg/dL224 µg/dL223 µg/dL222 µg/dL221 µg/dL220 µg/dL219 µg/dL218 µg/dL
217 µg/dL216 µg/dL215 µg/dL214 µg/dL213 µg/dL212 µg/dL211 µg/dL210 µg/dL
209 µg/dL208 µg/dL207 µg/dL206 µg/dL205 µg/dL204 µg/dL203 µg/dL202 µg/dL
201 µg/dL200 µg/dL      
Marked TIBC decrease
199 µg/dL198 µg/dL197 µg/dL196 µg/dL195 µg/dL194 µg/dL193 µg/dL192 µg/dL
191 µg/dL190 µg/dL189 µg/dL188 µg/dL187 µg/dL186 µg/dL185 µg/dL184 µg/dL
183 µg/dL182 µg/dL181 µg/dL180 µg/dL179 µg/dL178 µg/dL177 µg/dL176 µg/dL
175 µg/dL174 µg/dL173 µg/dL172 µg/dL171 µg/dL170 µg/dL169 µg/dL168 µg/dL
167 µg/dL166 µg/dL165 µg/dL164 µg/dL163 µg/dL162 µg/dL161 µg/dL160 µg/dL
159 µg/dL158 µg/dL157 µg/dL156 µg/dL155 µg/dL154 µg/dL153 µg/dL152 µg/dL
151 µg/dL150 µg/dL149 µg/dL148 µg/dL147 µg/dL146 µg/dL145 µg/dL144 µg/dL
143 µg/dL142 µg/dL141 µg/dL140 µg/dL139 µg/dL138 µg/dL137 µg/dL136 µg/dL
135 µg/dL134 µg/dL133 µg/dL132 µg/dL131 µg/dL130 µg/dL129 µg/dL128 µg/dL
127 µg/dL126 µg/dL125 µg/dL124 µg/dL123 µg/dL122 µg/dL121 µg/dL120 µg/dL
119 µg/dL118 µg/dL117 µg/dL116 µg/dL115 µg/dL114 µg/dL113 µg/dL112 µg/dL
111 µg/dL110 µg/dL109 µg/dL108 µg/dL107 µg/dL106 µg/dL105 µg/dL104 µg/dL
103 µg/dL102 µg/dL101 µg/dL100 µg/dL    
foto de Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante
Written by

Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante

Last update: 22/04/2020


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