Blood test

Low transferrin level in the blood

Blood test
Low transferrin level in the blood

What is low transferrin level in the blood called?

  • Hypotransferrinemia

What is the normal transferrin level in the blood?

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

What does a low transferrin level in the blood mean?

Transferrin is the protein that carries iron through the blood. The transferrin is produced in the liver and a low value of transferrin in the blood may be a sign that the liver’s production of transferrin is not appropriate.

A low value of transferrin in the blood can be consequence of multiple disorders such as infections, inflammations, some types of cancer or kidney or liver problems.

In many cases, it may suggest a secondary anemia caused by a chronic disease. In that case there will be other assays altered, for example, hemoglobin low in the blood.

If you are suffering from hemochromatosis, iron and ferritin in the blood will be high and transferrin low.

  • Mild hypotransferrinemia (150 - 215 mg/dl in adult men y 150 - 245 mg /dl in adult women):

    Transferrin level in the blood is a bit low. It may be a consequence of an infection or an inflammation.

    It is advisable to study other blood tests related to iron such as serum iron or ferritin to know if it is a casual alteration or if there is a problem with the iron in the body.

    If there is an alteration of ferritin and serum iron you should talk to your doctor. If only transferrin is altered, it may be due to some drugs and it is probable that in the next blood test the transferrin return to normal range.

  • Marked hypotransferrinemia (10 - 150 mg /dl in adults):

    Transferrin level in the blood is very low and the transport of iron trough the blood may be affected. It may be a sign of liver or kidney disorder.

    Low values of transferrin in the blood may cause iron accumulation in some organs (heart, liver) and provoke a cardiovascular disease.

  • Severe hypotransferrinemia (<10 mg/dl in adults):

    Severe hypotransferrinemia can alter the correct transport of iron through the body.

    There is a rare genetic disease, called congenital atransferrinemia, which is characteristic of severe hypotransferrinemia. It can be treated by transferrin blood transfusions.

Which factors can reduce the transferrin level in the blood?

There are some circumstances than can reduce your transferrin level in the blood:

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

Which diseases can reduce your transferrin level in the blood?

Lower than normal level of transferrin in the blood can be due to:

  • Hepatic cirrhosis
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Kidney failure
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Congenital atransferrinemia

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

A low level of transferrin in the blood is usually a secondary consequence of a chronic disease. The best way to revert the transferrin alteration is to find the primary disease and treat it.

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

You can visit our pages about:

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

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

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in mg/dL. They are an example of a healthy woman of about 45 years old with a balanced diet, not known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

Mild hypotransferrinemia
244 mg/dL243 mg/dL242 mg/dL241 mg/dL240 mg/dL239 mg/dL238 mg/dL237 mg/dL
236 mg/dL235 mg/dL234 mg/dL233 mg/dL232 mg/dL231 mg/dL230 mg/dL229 mg/dL
228 mg/dL227 mg/dL226 mg/dL225 mg/dL224 mg/dL223 mg/dL222 mg/dL221 mg/dL
220 mg/dL219 mg/dL218 mg/dL217 mg/dL216 mg/dL215 mg/dL214 mg/dL213 mg/dL
212 mg/dL211 mg/dL210 mg/dL209 mg/dL208 mg/dL207 mg/dL206 mg/dL205 mg/dL
204 mg/dL203 mg/dL202 mg/dL201 mg/dL200 mg/dL199 mg/dL198 mg/dL197 mg/dL
196 mg/dL195 mg/dL194 mg/dL193 mg/dL192 mg/dL191 mg/dL190 mg/dL189 mg/dL
188 mg/dL187 mg/dL186 mg/dL185 mg/dL184 mg/dL183 mg/dL182 mg/dL181 mg/dL
180 mg/dL179 mg/dL178 mg/dL177 mg/dL176 mg/dL175 mg/dL174 mg/dL173 mg/dL
172 mg/dL171 mg/dL170 mg/dL169 mg/dL168 mg/dL167 mg/dL166 mg/dL165 mg/dL
164 mg/dL163 mg/dL162 mg/dL161 mg/dL160 mg/dL159 mg/dL158 mg/dL157 mg/dL
156 mg/dL155 mg/dL154 mg/dL153 mg/dL152 mg/dL151 mg/dL150 mg/dL 
Marked hypotransferrinemia
149 mg/dL148 mg/dL147 mg/dL146 mg/dL145 mg/dL144 mg/dL143 mg/dL142 mg/dL
141 mg/dL140 mg/dL139 mg/dL138 mg/dL137 mg/dL136 mg/dL135 mg/dL134 mg/dL
133 mg/dL132 mg/dL131 mg/dL130 mg/dL129 mg/dL128 mg/dL127 mg/dL126 mg/dL
125 mg/dL124 mg/dL123 mg/dL122 mg/dL121 mg/dL120 mg/dL119 mg/dL118 mg/dL
117 mg/dL116 mg/dL115 mg/dL114 mg/dL113 mg/dL112 mg/dL111 mg/dL110 mg/dL
109 mg/dL108 mg/dL107 mg/dL106 mg/dL105 mg/dL104 mg/dL103 mg/dL102 mg/dL
101 mg/dL100 mg/dL99 mg/dL98 mg/dL97 mg/dL96 mg/dL95 mg/dL94 mg/dL
93 mg/dL92 mg/dL91 mg/dL90 mg/dL89 mg/dL88 mg/dL87 mg/dL86 mg/dL
85 mg/dL84 mg/dL83 mg/dL82 mg/dL81 mg/dL80 mg/dL79 mg/dL78 mg/dL
77 mg/dL76 mg/dL75 mg/dL74 mg/dL73 mg/dL72 mg/dL71 mg/dL70 mg/dL
69 mg/dL68 mg/dL67 mg/dL66 mg/dL65 mg/dL64 mg/dL63 mg/dL62 mg/dL
61 mg/dL60 mg/dL59 mg/dL58 mg/dL57 mg/dL56 mg/dL55 mg/dL54 mg/dL
53 mg/dL52 mg/dL51 mg/dL50 mg/dL49 mg/dL48 mg/dL47 mg/dL46 mg/dL
45 mg/dL44 mg/dL43 mg/dL42 mg/dL41 mg/dL40 mg/dL39 mg/dL38 mg/dL
37 mg/dL36 mg/dL35 mg/dL34 mg/dL33 mg/dL32 mg/dL31 mg/dL30 mg/dL
29 mg/dL28 mg/dL27 mg/dL26 mg/dL25 mg/dL24 mg/dL23 mg/dL22 mg/dL
21 mg/dL20 mg/dL19 mg/dL18 mg/dL17 mg/dL16 mg/dL15 mg/dL14 mg/dL
13 mg/dL12 mg/dL11 mg/dL10 mg/dL    
Severe hypotransferrinemia
9 mg/dL8 mg/dL7 mg/dL6 mg/dL5 mg/dL4 mg/dL3 mg/dL2 mg/dL
1 mg/dL0 mg/dL      
foto de Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante
Written by

Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante

Last update: 21/04/2020


  • Total Iron Binding Capacity and Transferrin Concentration in the Assessment of Iron Status. Disponible en:
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David E. Bruns, Barbara G. Sawyer. WB Saunders Company, 2008. Pag 302. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2.

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