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What does low total iron binding capacity indicate?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3397 Questions
Iron levels are normal with the exception of a low binding capacity. It is 226 with normal starting at 250. I've been taking iron supplements for several years.
Posted Mon, 17 Mar 2014 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 31 minutes later
Brief Answer: Need some more details Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for the query. Low Total iron binding capacity indicates lower capacity of the blood to hold the iron. Such presentation is seen in anemia due to chronic infections or when affected by chronic infections alone. In both cases the iron stores and the actual iron content in the body would be normal. Hence, to be sure on my opinion I would like to know your hemoglobin level, Serum ferritin level and history of any chronic infection. Waiting for your response,
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Follow-up: What does low total iron binding capacity indicate? 36 hours later
I have taken iron supplements (325 mg. 2x a day) for years. I am wondering why my lab work would show low binding capacity. White Blood Cell Count 8.7 (Range - 3.8-10.8) Red Blood Cell Count 4.25 (Range - 3.80-5.10) Hemoglobin 12.0 (Range - 11.7-15.5) Hematocrit 36.4 (Range 35.0-45.0) Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity Iron, Total - 60 - (Range 40-175) Iron Binding Capacity 226 (Range 250-450) WHY WOULD THIS SHOW UP LOW? Saturation 27 (Range 15-50) My last blood work in July of 2013 was 229 Iron Binding Capacity and 280 IBC in February 2013. The only difference is taking Crestor. I do not know if that affects results. Medications: Aciphex 20 mg. 1 or 2x a day B6 - 50 mg. B12 - 100 mg. C - 500 mg. D - 4000 mg. Iron - 650 mg. Thank you,
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 1 hour later
Brief Answer: iron levels and IBC are not related Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for the information. The serum iron levels and the Iron binding capacity of the blood are unrelated. In some cases anemia is caused by chronic infections present with a finding like low IBC. IBC is a measure the blood's capacity to bind iron with transferrin. In chronic infections there is increased production of a regulatory protein called Hepcidin. This reduces the production of transferrin (iron transporting protein) and increase the ferritin (Iron storing protein) in an attempt to prevent the consumption of iron by the pathogens involved in the chronic infection. This does not affect the serum iron levels and does not cause anemia. Once the infection is controlled IBC increases gradually to stay in the normal range.
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