Ferritin

What is Ferritin?

Ferritin is a protein that stores iron.  As the main way your body stores iron, it is a surrogate marker for iron stored in the body’s organs, as well as an inflammatory disease marker.

7-8 % of women and 1-3% of men in the West have anemia, whilst 25% have low iron.  Pregnant women and those with heavy periods or injuries can lose 30-50 mg of iron per day, which quickly depletes iron stores if they are not replenished. Long-distance runners have an increased risk of low ferritin. 

Why test ferritin?

Unless this is ordered as a retest or for a specific reason, we recommend ordering this as part of a health test.

Health Check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them. 

Symptoms
Including unexplained fatigue, dizziness, chronic headaches, and unexplained weakness.

Monitoring
Monitor changes to your blood values as you make lifestyle changes, supplement or undergo treatments.

Health History
A personal or Family history of anemia or excess iron

Heavy Periods
Women who have heavy periods are more likely to suffer from low iron levels.

What causes low ferritin?

Iron deficiency anemia is the main cause of low ferritin. Ferritin tests are evaluated in the light of other iron tests.

What causes high ferritin?

Inflammatory processes, excess iron consumption, and iron overload can all cause high ferritin.

More information

Iron deficiency (anemia) and excess (hemochromatosis) are both very common and underdiagnosed disorders that can cause serious health problems if not detected early enough.

The ferritin test is ordered to assess a person's iron stores in the body.  The test is usually ordered along with serum iron and transferrin or TIBC to detect the presence and severity of iron deficiency or excess iron.

Ferritin levels can be elevated in people with inflammation, liver disease, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, and some types of cancer. Ferritin should not be analysed when you have an infection or acute inflammation, and other factors should be taken into account when analysing the results.

Values that are slightly outside the reference range can be normal. Reference ranges are not perfect and approximately 5% of healthy individuals may have results outside the reference range.

Instructions

The day before the test
If you take iron supplements, avoid them for 24 hours before doing this test.

One the day of the test
Are you sick? If so, it may be a good idea to postpone this test. Remember to take I.D. with you when going to take a test.  Take this test before 10am, as iron levels vary throughout the day. If you are a menstruating woman, make a note of the day of your cycle on the day of the test.  This may be helpful later.

 

 

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