Transferrin is a protein produced in the liver that binds to iron and transports it throughout the body. Measuring transferrin levels in the blood can provide information about a person’s iron status.
Transferrin levels can be used to evaluate a person’s iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Transferrin levels may also be used to monitor people with iron overload conditions, such as hemochromatosis, where the body absorbs too much iron from food.
In addition, transferrin levels can be used to assess liver function, as the liver is responsible for producing transferrin. Changes in transferrin levels may indicate liver disease or damage.
Therefore, a healthcare provider may order a transferrin test to help diagnose and monitor conditions related to iron status and liver function. The test is usually performed as part of a larger panel of blood tests to evaluate iron status, such as serum iron, ferritin, and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC).