HomeDiagnostic TestsFerritin
Ferritin Test £34.95
Your Basket Is Empty (close)

Ferritin Test

What is Ferritin?

Ferritin is a protein. The role of ferritin is to store iron in the cells of the body. Most iron is stored bound to ferritin. Ferritin is found in the blood, and is needed for red blood cell production. Healthy red blood cells transport oxygen to the cells of the body. Ferritin and iron are also found in other tissues of the body, including bone marrow, spleen, liver, and muscles, and are needed for normal development of the brain and immune system. Any surplus iron is stored in ferritin for use when needed.

What is a Ferritin test?

The ferritin test measures the amount of ferritin in the blood. As the body uses iron, ferritin is released by cells into the bloodstream. The ferritin level in the blood is therefore used to indicate the amount of iron currently stored in the body.

Buy a Ferritin test

Click on the link below to buy a Ferritin test.

Ferritin Test £34.95

The kit includes a RM24 Tracked reply paid envelope.

Results take 1 day to process after arriving back at our laboratory.

Why is a Ferritin test important?

A ferritin test is used to measure iron levels in the body, and investigates whether the body's iron store is adequate to keep healthy. An inadequate or an excess level of iron in the blood may cause health issues.

The test may be done when a doctor is screening for or diagnosing certain conditions. These include iron-deficient anaemia (where a lack of iron leads to an insufficient number of red blood cells); anaemia of inflammation (where the amount of iron stored in tissues may be normal but it is low in the blood; here, inflammation stops the body from using stored iron to produce healthy red blood cells); haemochromatosis (where there is too much iron in the body); liver disease (where a lot of ferritin in the body is stored); and restless legs syndrome (where there are tingling or burning sensations in the legs sometimes caused by an iron deficiency).

A ferritin test may also be done to monitor a long-term condition that could alter iron levels, including autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), kidney diseases, and cancer, or to see if a treatment for an iron deficiency is working.

Who should have their Ferritin level tested?

The ferritin test may be done if you have symptoms indicating that your iron levels are abnormal. When your iron levels are too low, you may experience tiredness, weakness, dizziness, breathlessness, pale skin, and increased heartbeat. Alternatively, when your iron levels are too high, you may experience tiredness, pain in the joints or the abdomen, heart problems, and loss of body hair and sex drive.

The ferritin test may also be needed if your routine blood test shows that your haemoglobin levels or haematocrit is low. It may also be necessary in people who are underweight or have a problem absorbing food from their gut (e.g., an inflammatory bowel disease or have had surgery to the gut), or in women who are pregnant or have heavy bleeding during menstruation.

How to test for Ferritin?

Testing your ferritin level requires a small blood sample, which is collected by you at home. Your doctor will provide the test kit, which contains full instructions on collecting the blood sample. Testing is easy. Clean your little finger tip, prick this area of skin with the lancet, and collect sufficient blood drops in the collection tube to reach the top line marked on the collection tube. Prick the other little finger tip if you need more blood to provide the full blood sample. Seal the collection tube with its cap and carefully invert it 5-10 times. Importantly, complete the collection tube label, stick it onto the collection tube, put the tube in the packing wallet, and post. The ferritin test results will be sent by the laboratory to your doctor. The doctor will interpret the results for you, and let you know if more tests are needed.

What are normal Ferritin test results?

The reference (normal) range for ferritin varies across different laboratories, serves as a guide only, and doesn't preclude a ferritin value outside of the normal range being considered normal for an individual person. Your doctor will explain your test results to you. If the results show that your ferritin levels are abnormal, other tests may be conducted to find the cause.

Too low or too high ferritin levels are not always caused by a medical condition. An iron deficiency can be caused by poor diet; loss of blood (e.g., through heavy bleeding during menstruation or donating blood regularly); when the amount of iron that you take in is less than what you use (e.g., during pregnancy); or by certain medicines that interfere with iron absorption (antacids) or intestinal bleeding (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines). Too much iron may be caused by a recent blood transfusion, taking too many iron supplements, or receiving iron-replacement therapy.

Ferritin levels that are too low often indicate an iron deficiency, and may mean that you have iron-deficiency anaemia, are not absorbing sufficient iron from your food, or have intestinal bleeding due to ulcers, haemorrhoids, bowel cancer, or other gut problems. Ferritin levels that are too high may indicate conditions such as hemochromatosis, hyperthyroidism, an inflammatory disease or an infection, liver disease, alcohol use disorder, or cancer.

How to maintain normal Ferritin levels

Eating iron-rich foods can help to maintain good levels of ferritin. These can be obtained from animal food sources such as meat, offal, salmon, and shellfish, and plant-based sources such as green leafy vegetables, lentils, bean, cereals, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. It is easier to absorb iron from animal products than from plants so vegans and vegetarians are at particular risk of a deficiency. Vitamins such as vitamin A and C increase iron absorption, while calcium and tannins (in tea and coffee) can reduce absorption. Drinking alcohol to excess can increase the body's storage of iron, particularly in the liver.

Reviewed by: Dr Loraine Haslam MBBS, DRCOG, DFSRH, LoC SDI, LoC IUT, MRCGP
GMC registration number: 4524038
Date: 27 March 2023
Next review: 26 March 2025
All UK registered doctors can have their registration checked on
The Medical Register at the GMC website.
We use cookies on this website. By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Find out more Close