Ask The Expert
September 14, 2011
Before making any changes in your diet, letís first consider what your high iron level means for you.
The normal range for iron in male adults is 65 to 176 žg/dL. For women, the normal range is 50 to 170 žg/dL.
If your level is high, this does not necessarily mean you have too much iron in your body. To know that for sure, you also need to know the results of two other blood tests:
Ideally, you should take iron, TIBC and ferritin blood tests after fasting overnight. And donít eat meat before the test. This can cause falsely high readings.
Here is how the two additional blood test results help. If the saturation is greater than 45%, you could have iron overload. Itís a condition called hemochromatosis. Almost always, your ferritin level also would be high in this condition (higher than 200 ng/ml in women, 300 ng/ml in men).
There are other reasons for having high levels of iron, ferritin and transferrin saturation. For example, active liver disease, such as chronic hepatitis from a virus or alcohol use, can raise these numbers into the abnormal range.
Depending on the results of your transferrin saturation and ferritin tests, your doctor will determine if you need further testing for hemochromatosis.
If you do have hemochromatosis, you will want to avoid iron-rich foods. Foods like red meat and liver have the greatest amounts of iron.