This lab test is important as it helps in the diagnosis of anemia.

Iron Overview

Reviewed: April 21, 2014

Iron is a mineral that our bodies need for many functions. Iron is part of hemoglobin which is a protein that carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Iron helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Measurement of iron levels helps in diagnosing anemia.

Iron is measured in micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

Normal ranges for iron are the following:

  • Male: 45-160 mcg/dL
  • Female: 30-160 mcg/dL


Blood draw


Fasting 12 hours before the test is required.

Water intake is allowed.

Do not take iron supplements within 24-48 hours before the test.

What the results mean

Elevated iron levels may indicate certain types of anemia, a disease in which you absorb more iron than you need, or a certain blood disorder called thalassemia.

Lower than normal iron levels may indicate blood loss, infection, inflammation, or a high level of nitrogen waste products in the blood (uremia).