This lab test is the best single test to diagnose iron deficiency.

Ferritin Overview

Reviewed: April 21, 2014

Ferritin is a protein in the body which stores iron. Measurement of ferritin level provides a good indication of the size of the iron stores in the body. Assessing ferritin levels are used to help determine the type of anemia. Serum ferritin is the best single test for the diagnosis of iron deficiency.

Ferritin is measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

The normal ranges for ferritin are:

  • Male: 18 - 350 ng/mL
  • Female: 15-49 yrs: 12 - 156 ng/mL
  • Female greater than 49 yrs: 18-204 ng/mL


Blood draw


Fasting is not required before the test.

What the results mean

Serum ferritin is increased in iron overload and may be associated with chronic renal disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and acute hepatitis.

Serum ferritin is decreased in iron deficiency anemia.