Transferrin Saturation Calculator

Determines the percentage of transferrin available that is bound to the total iron binding capacity in serum.

Refer to the text below the calculator for more information about the interpretation of transferrin saturation and TIBC.


Transferrin saturation, measured as a percentage, helps evaluate iron deficiency, anemia or on the contrary, iron overload (in hemosiderosis, iron poisoning or hemochromatosis).

Decreased transferrin saturation may be caused by an iron-poor diet, impaired iron absorption, pregnancy and lactation or chronic blood loss.

Increased transferrin saturation may be caused by an iron-rich diet, iron supplements, increased iron absorption or repeated blood transfusions.


The percentage saturation of transferrin with iron is calculated by dividing the serum iron concentration by the total iron binding capacity (TIBC) and multiplying by 100.

Transferrin Saturation = Serum Iron Concentration / TIBC x 100

Interpretation

  • <20% in males, <15% in females – indicates iron deficiency;
  • >50% – indicates iron overload.

Serum Iron Concentration
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
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Steps on how to print your input & results:

1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

Please note that once you have closed the PDF you need to click on the Calculate button before you try opening it again, otherwise the input and/or results may not appear in the pdf.


 

About transferrin saturation

The percentage saturation of transferrin with iron is calculated by dividing the serum iron concentration by the total iron binding capacity (TIBC) and multiplying by 100. Normally, about 1/3 of transferrin (33%) has iron bound to it:

TS = Serum Iron Concentration / TIBC x 100

A transferrin saturation value of 30 percent means that 30% of iron-binding sites of transferrin are being occupied by iron.

The total iron binding capacity (TIBC) of serum is a measure of total serum transferrin (the three types: apotransferrin, monotransferrin and diferric transferrin) concentration. TIBC is the sum of serum iron and serum unsaturated iron binding capacity.

Serum TIBC is low-normal or decreased in association with inflammatory disorders and increased in iron-deficient humans.

 

Interpretation of saturation values

Transferrin saturation, measured as a percentage, helps evaluate iron deficiency, anemia or on the contrary, iron overload (in hemosiderosis, iron poisoning or hemochromatosis):

  • <20% in males, <15% in females – indicates iron deficiency;
  • >50% – indicates iron overload or hemochromatosis.
Decreased transferrin saturation Increased transferrin saturation
An iron-poor diet An iron-rich diet
Impaired iron absorption Increased iron absorption
Pregnancy and lactation Iron supplements
Chronic blood loss Repeated blood transfusions

Transferrin concentrations, which can in turn affect how much transferrin is available to be bound to iron, are influenced by the following:

  • Hepatic production of apotransferrin due to hepatocyte iron content, inflammatory cytokines or hepatic insufficiency or portosystemic shunts;
  • Loss in protein-losing or exudative disorders;
  • Catabolism in states of negative energy balance.
 

References

Fairbanks VF, Baldus WP: Iron overload. In Hematology. Fourth edition. Edited by WJ Williams, AJ Erslev, MA Lichtman. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1990, pp 482-505.

Kasvosve I, Delanghe J. Total Iron Binding Capacity and Transferrin Concentration in the Assessment of Iron Status. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2002; 40(10):1014-8.

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th Edition (2008).

Gottschalk R, Wigand R, Dietrich CF, Oremek G, Liebisch F, Hoelzer D, Kaltwasser JP. Total iron-binding capacity and serum transferrin determination under the influence of several clinical conditions. Clin Chim Acta. 2000; 293(1-2):127-38.


Specialty: Hematology

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: June 11, 2020

Last Checked: June 11, 2020

Next Review: June 11, 2025