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Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) is a measure of the ability of your body to efficiently carry iron through the blood.

What might a low result mean?

Low TIBC is sometimes caused by iron overload syndrome, called hereditary haemochromatosis, an inherited genetic condition which causes the intestines to uncontrollably absorb iron at very high levels. As the body has no way of ridding itself of excess iron, this can result in a build up of iron over time which can lead to organ damage, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

What might a high result mean?

Elevated TIBC can indicate iron deficiency. This can be caused by a lack of iron in the diet, gastrointestinal bleeds such as peptic ulcers, and pregnancy.

How might I improve my result?

Iron deficiency can be improved by increasing iron-rich foods in your diet. Iron in animal protein like red meat (heme iron) is the most efficiently absorbed type of iron, but non-heme iron found in green leafy vegetables, seeds and legumes can also improve your iron levels.

Excess iron can be controlled through therapeutic phlebotomy, where blood is regularly removed through a vein in your arm to keep iron levels at healthy levels.