Ferritin: normal, low, elevated

Update: November 2018

The exchange of iron in the human body depends on many factors, in
including blood levels of certain proteins. One of these
compounds is ferritin – a complex complex containing atoms
this element in its structure. Fluctuations in ferritin in the blood
mean the presence of impaired iron metabolism, accompanying mass

What is ferritin

Whey ferritin is a special complex consisting of
protein and trivalent iron. It is formed from bivalent
iron with the participation of oxygen and reflects, therefore, the reserves
this element in the tissues. Thanks to the compound atoms of the element
are soluble and non-toxic to the body.

The substance is found in the red bone marrow, spleen, mucous
intestinal membrane, liver, placenta, kidneys.

How to analyze

To determine the level of ferritin, you must donate venous blood.
on an empty stomach The direction of the analysis is prescribed by a doctor of any specialty.
(if there are indications for this), or you can donate blood
independently in the laboratory. In order for ferritin analysis to be
the most reliable, you need to perform a number of conditions before going
to the treatment room:

  • Eliminate physical activity for 30 minutes.
  • Cancel iron supplements for 7 days.
  • Do not smoke or take alcoholic beverages for a day.

False results may result from testing during
menstruation: due to blood loss, blood hemoglobin drops, which
causes the growth of serum ferritin to synthesize new
red blood cells.

Normal values

The rate of ferritin is different for people of different ages and

In adults:

  • The rate of ferritin in women is 10-150 µg / l.
  • For men, a good analysis result is level 20-350.
    mcg / l

Ferritin in children’s blood has the following normal

  • 1-2 months – 200-600 mcg / l;
  • 2-5 months – 50-200 mg / l;
  • с 5 месяцев до 15 лет – 10-140 mcg / l

These standards apply even if the level of ferritin is changed when
normal hemoglobin (no criteria for anemia).

In pregnant women:

For pregnant women, these values ​​do not apply, since
physiologically, the amount of the indicator decreases. It’s connected with
increasing the cost of iron to maintain fetal development, placenta,
red blood cell count and hemoglobin in the increased blood volume.
In a pregnant woman, the decrease occurs gradually: by week 20
by about half, by the third trimester – by 70%.


Normal ferritin levels in pregnancy are:

Trimester Value (µg / L)
I 55-90
II 25-75
III 10-15

The exact cause of the fluctuation of ferritin will help establish
determination of additional biochemical parameters:

  • hemoglobin;
  • red blood cells;
  • OZHSS (general iron binding capacity);
  • transferrin;
  • serum iron.

See Causes of Low Hemoglobin, Iron Preparations for Anemia,
Iron deficiency anemia in children, Why dizzy.

If ferritin is elevated

High ferritin can mean not only not life-threatening.
pathologies, but also serious diseases requiring immediate
medical care. The doctor may suspect:

  1. Acceptance of preparations containing iron. Ferritin increased in this
    case due to the increased need of the body to dispose
    incoming iron. This is usually observed at 2-3 weeks from the beginning.
    taking medication.
  2. Infections, including respiratory (flu, ARVI group),
    urinary, osteomyelitis.
  3. Inflammatory non-infectious diseases (rheumatoid arthritis,
    systemic lupus erythematosus, ulcerative colitis, disease
  4. Hereditary metabolic disorders (porphyria, hemochromatosis,
    thalassemia, microspherocytic and megaloblastic anemia,
  5. Liver diseases (fatty hepatosis, alcoholic illness,
    viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma).
  6. Hodgkin’s lymphoma (lymphogranulomatosis).
  7. Myelo-and lymphoblastic leukemia.
  8. Hyperthyroidism.

If ferritin is lowered

Causes of low serum ferritin are also varied:

  1. Period of growth, pregnancy, puberty, feeding
  2. Long starvation (ferritin lowered due to lack of iron
    from food).
  3. Iron-deficiency anemia.
  4. Hypothyroidism.
  5. Frequent donation.
  6. Diseases of the digestive tract (celiac disease, malabsorption syndrome, chronic
    atrophic gastritis).

How to fill serum ferritin

The main cause of the deficit indicator is the lack
gland. That is why all the ways how to increase ferritin are based
on replenishing the item.

First, it is necessary to cure or divert the disease to
remission, whether it is gastritis or a bacterial infection. Secondly,
helps a special diet with a high content of this element.
The following foods are suitable:

Sources of heme iron Sources of non-heme iron
  • Red meat (lamb, beef, veal)
  • Liver (pork, veal)
  • Seafood (oysters, mussels)
  • Mackerel
  • Egg
  • Groats (buckwheat, rice)
  • Beans
  • The nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Greenery

Heme iron contains meat products, it is absorbed more easily,
as opposed to non-heme from plant foods. A similar diet is not
able to restore the protein complex in proper quantity.
Be sure to use medicinal means.

Drugs are introduced into the body in two ways – oral (through
mouth) and parenteral (by injection). In addition, in their
The composition may contain bivalent or trivalent iron. Medicine
with a divalent atom is better absorbed by the tissues of the body, therefore
it is more preferable to use.

Common drugs:

Active substance Name, price Application mode
Iron (II) sulfate Тардиферон 220-280 руб. 80 mg twice daily with or before meals.
Polymaltose complex of iron (III) hydroxide Феррум Лек 150-1600 руб.
  • Tablets: 400-800 mcg per day inside during or immediately after
    food intake.
  • Syrup: 10-30 ml per day inside.
Мальтофер 290-700 руб. On 1-3 (100-300 mg) tablets a day inside during or at once
после food intake.
Iron (II) gluconate in combination with other substances Тотема 520-550 р. On 2-4 ampoules (100-200 mg) per day inside, having mixed with
Iron (II) sulfate + серин Актиферрин 250-270 р. On 5 drops on 1 kg of mass inside 2-3 times a day.
Iron (II) sulfate + аскорбиновая кислота Сорбифер Дурулес 400-550 р. On 1 tablet twice a day, washing it down with water, without chewing.
Iron protein succinylate Ферлатум 1000-1100 р. On 1 bottle (40 mg) 2 times a day inside.
Sugar complex of iron (III) hydroxide Венофер 3000-3100 р. Individual dose calculation for parenteral administration. Before
введением – пробная тест-доза с введением 20 мг gland.

Serum ferritin is a valuable indicator for the doctor.
Fluctuations in the level of this protein complex help to recognize not
only anemia, but also tumor diseases of the blood system. Not
should independently try to adjust its concentration
without establishing the cause: it may need a wider
range of therapeutic measures.

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