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Normal transferrin level in the blood

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Normal transferrin level in the blood
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What is the normal transferrin level in the blood?

Men: 215 - 360 mg/dL
Women: 245 - 370 mg/dL
Children from 0 to 6 months old: 173 - 413 mg/dl
Children from 6 to 12 months old: 209 - 339 mg/dl
Children from 12 to 18 month old: 253 - 385 mg/dl
Children from 18 months to 2 years old: 261 - 351 mg/dl
Children from 2 to 18 years old: 215-325 mg/dl

In the International System of Units (SI), transferrin in the blood is measured in g/L. The normal transferrin level in the blood in the SI is:

Men: 2.15 - 3.60 g/L
Women: 2.45 - 3.70 g/L
Children from 0 to 6 months old: 1.73 - 4.13 g/L
Children from 6 to 12 months old: 2.09 - 3.39 g/L
Children from 12 to 18 month old: 2.53 - 3.85 g/L
Children from 18 months to 2 years old: 2.61 - 3.51 g/L
Children from 2 to 18 years old: 2.15 - 3.25 g/L

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for iron in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.

Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.

What is the role of transferrin in the body?

Transferrin is a type of globulin protein, which main role is the transport of iron in the blood. Transferrin is usually called iron-binding protein. Iron in the body is essential to the formation of hemoglobin, necessary to carry oxygen to the cells.

Each transferrin molecule can bind to two atoms of ferric iron (Fe3+). It means that ferritin can transport iron through the blood. In normal conditions, only one-third of the iron binding capacity of transferrin is saturated with iron.

In addition, transferrin can carry other metals through the blood such as copper, manganese, gallium, indium, titanium, etc.

Human transferrin is produced in the liver and it has a half-life of 8 days in the blood.

In many cases, to determine the transferrin level in the blood an indirect method is used. In the laboratories it is measured the TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) instead.

This assay measures the amount of iron bound to transferrin in a blood test. This method is cheaper and easy to perform. When the TIBC is known, the transferrin level can be estimated with the following formulas:

  • Transferrin (mg/dL) = 0.8 x TIBC (µg of iron/dL) – 43
  • Transferrin (mg/dL) = 0.7 x TIBC (µg of iron/dL)

What is the transferrin blood test used for?

The transferrin blood test is usually made in relation to a suspected anemia. It must be studied along with iron in the blood, ferritin and the transferrin saturation (a relation between iron and transferrin). The concentration of transferrin in the serum is regulated by the iron availability.

A high value of transferrin in the blood may be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. However, it is better to consider the ferritin blood test for this matter because transferrin level may be elevated a consequence of pregnancy or for taking oral contraceptives. If transferrin is high and ferritin is low (<15 ng/ml) iron-deficiency anemia should be suspected.

A low value of transferrin is a sign of an anemia of chronic disease. It a secondary consequence of renal disorders (kidney disease, kidney failure), liver problems, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, celiac disease) and some types of cancer. It is frequent that transferrin level is low in all kinds of inflammations.

Therefore, transferrin level in the blood is an adequate parameter to know whether an anemia is caused by iron deficiency or it is secondary to a chronic disease.

Transferrin level in the blood is also useful to know the nutritional status of people with no kidney problem.

In case of suffering hemochromatosis the iron in the blood will be high and the transferrin level in the blood will be low.

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

You can visit our pages about:

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

The following values are considered to be normal values:

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.

Transferrin
Status
Normality
245 mg/dL246 mg/dL247 mg/dL248 mg/dL249 mg/dL250 mg/dL251 mg/dL252 mg/dL
253 mg/dL254 mg/dL255 mg/dL256 mg/dL257 mg/dL258 mg/dL259 mg/dL260 mg/dL
261 mg/dL262 mg/dL263 mg/dL264 mg/dL265 mg/dL266 mg/dL267 mg/dL268 mg/dL
269 mg/dL270 mg/dL271 mg/dL272 mg/dL273 mg/dL274 mg/dL275 mg/dL276 mg/dL
277 mg/dL278 mg/dL279 mg/dL280 mg/dL281 mg/dL282 mg/dL283 mg/dL284 mg/dL
285 mg/dL286 mg/dL287 mg/dL288 mg/dL289 mg/dL290 mg/dL291 mg/dL292 mg/dL
293 mg/dL294 mg/dL295 mg/dL296 mg/dL297 mg/dL298 mg/dL299 mg/dL300 mg/dL
301 mg/dL302 mg/dL303 mg/dL304 mg/dL305 mg/dL306 mg/dL307 mg/dL308 mg/dL
309 mg/dL310 mg/dL311 mg/dL312 mg/dL313 mg/dL314 mg/dL315 mg/dL316 mg/dL
317 mg/dL318 mg/dL319 mg/dL320 mg/dL321 mg/dL322 mg/dL323 mg/dL324 mg/dL
325 mg/dL326 mg/dL327 mg/dL328 mg/dL329 mg/dL330 mg/dL331 mg/dL332 mg/dL
333 mg/dL334 mg/dL335 mg/dL336 mg/dL337 mg/dL338 mg/dL339 mg/dL340 mg/dL
341 mg/dL342 mg/dL343 mg/dL344 mg/dL345 mg/dL346 mg/dL347 mg/dL348 mg/dL
349 mg/dL350 mg/dL351 mg/dL352 mg/dL353 mg/dL354 mg/dL355 mg/dL356 mg/dL
357 mg/dL358 mg/dL359 mg/dL360 mg/dL361 mg/dL362 mg/dL363 mg/dL364 mg/dL
365 mg/dL366 mg/dL367 mg/dL368 mg/dL369 mg/dL370 mg/dL  
foto de Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante
Written by

Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante

Last update: 21/04/2020

Bibliography

  • Total Iron Binding Capacity and Transferrin Concentration in the Assessment of Iron Status. Disponible en: https://www.researchgate.net
  • 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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