What is Total Iron Binding?
Transferrin is the main protein in the blood that binds to iron and transports it throughout the body. The amount of transferrin that is available to bind to and transport iron is reflected in measurements of the total iron binding capacity (TIBC), unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC), or transferrin saturation.
Serum iron measures the total amount of iron in the blood, nearly all of which is bound to transferrin. It is required to calculate either the TIBC or UIBC.
Transferrin saturation is a calculation (see Common Questions #2) using the iron test result and the TIBC or UIBC results, representing the percentage of the transferrin that is saturated with iron.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is drawn by needle from a vein in the arm.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
A 12-hour fast may be required. In this case, only water is allowed. A morning specimen is preferred.