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Iron is an important mineral that plays a role in several metabolic processes in the body. At-home iron tests allow a person to check their iron levels without a doctor’s appointment.

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Please note that the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Iron is an important mineral for the body. Research has shown that iron plays a vital role in several metabolic processes, including oxygen transportation in the blood, creation of blood cells, and hormone production.

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is a more absorbable form of this mineral, and it comes from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, and seafood. Nonheme iron is less absorbable and comes from plant sources and iron-fortified foods.

Learn more about iron here.

Consuming insufficient amounts of dietary iron can result in iron deficiency. People who menstruate, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding require more iron, so they are more likely to have iron deficiency.

Certain health conditions can prevent a person from absorbing the iron that they consume, including:

Iron tests can check how much iron is present in the blood. The results may indicate that a person has too little, too much, or a healthy amount of this mineral.

An iron test is often just one component of a general blood test, as laboratory technicians can run multiple tests on the same sample of blood.

When a doctor orders an iron test, they often order several tests at a time. The combined results can help a doctor determine whether a person has low, normal, or high levels of iron in their blood.

Iron tests can include:

  • Transferrin test: This test measures the amount of transferrin, a protein that transports iron, in the blood.
  • Serum iron test: The serum iron test measures iron levels in the liquid part of the blood.
  • Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test: The TIBC test checks how well iron binds to transferrin and other proteins.
  • Ferritin test: This test measures the amount of iron that the body stores.

It is important to note that ferritin is a marker of inflammation, which is why certain conditions — such as chronic kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and metabolic syndrome — can cause the test results to be falsely normal or elevated. Therefore, if a ferritin test shows normal levels of iron, but a person has the symptoms of iron deficiency, they should undergo further tests.

Alternatively, an individual can opt for an at-home testing kit that allows to perform more than one of the tests above.

Iron tests will return a result that tells a person whether their iron levels are normal, low, or high.

Low iron levels indicate a potential iron deficiency, whereas high levels suggest an iron overload. If an at-home test shows either condition, a person should consult a healthcare professional.

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body. It can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

Learn more about iron deficiency anemia here.

If a person gets test results that indicate low iron levels or if they experience any symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, they should contact a doctor for further advice and treatment.

Iron overload

When a person consumes too much iron, they are at risk of iron overload. Iron deposits increase in the liver, heart, and endocrine glands, and they can cause organ damage.

Signs and symptoms of iron overload include:

Iron overload can be either primary or secondary, with the primary form being more common.

Primary iron overload is heritable, meaning that it can pass from parents to their children. However, a person will only experience symptoms if they receive one copy of the faulty gene from each parent.

Secondary iron overload can result from excessive dietary protein consumption, long-term kidney dialysis, certain types of anemia, or chronic liver disease.

Learn more about iron overload here.

If test results show high iron levels or if symptoms of iron overload occur, a person should seek guidance from a doctor.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria, where possible:

  • Convenience: MNT chooses at-home tests that people can perform at home or at a local laboratory.
  • Accuracy: MNT features at-home tests that use accredited testing laboratories, which helps ensure reliable and accurate results.
  • Cost: MNT chooses at-home tests that allow people to use discounts and health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) payments.
  • Privacy: MNT features at-home tests that offer privacy protection.
  • Medical review: MNT chooses at-home tests that offer follow-up advice on the return of a positive result.

Several companies sell at-home iron tests. Some tests may require a person to go to a laboratory to provide the blood sample.

LetsGetChecked Iron Test

Best for a comprehensive blood test

LetsGetChecked provides several health-related tests for at-home use, including an iron test. This test requires a person to collect blood via a finger prick.

Learn more about LetsGetChecked here.

This product tests for:

  • iron
  • TIBC
  • ferritin
  • transferrin saturation

Once a person purchases the test, they need to register it through the LetsGetChecked website. The test includes all necessary equipment and instructions. After taking a blood sample, an individual needs to return it using a prepaid envelope.

LetsGetChecked states that people will receive their test results within 5 days through a secure app. If a person’s results indicate iron deficiency or iron overload, LetsGetChecked nurses will call them to discuss the next steps.

The company uses laboratories that the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) have approved and that the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has accredited to test the samples.

LetsGetChecked accepts HSAs and FSAs.

Pros

  • An in-house medical team reviews the results and offers follow-up advice.
  • The company accepts HSAs and FSAs for payment and provides discounts to those who sign up for a subscription.
  • The company uses accredited laboratories to process tests.
  • People can perform the test at home.
  • People receive the test results within 5 days.

Cons

  • This test is one of the more expensive at-home tests available online.

At the time of publication, LetsGetChecked Iron Test costs $99. People can receive a 30% discount by subscribing to receive an iron test every 3 months.

Lab.Me Advanced Ferritin Test

Best for subscribing and saving

This ferritin test measures how well the body stores iron. It uses a finger prick collection method.

Lab.Me includes an instructional video that a person can watch to learn how to take their sample. Once they do, they need to send the sample to the company in a prepaid envelope.

The company states that people will receive their results along with personalized reports, test recommendations, and lifestyle advice within 48 hours.

Lab.Me uses CAP-accredited laboratories to process the blood samples.

Pros

  • People can access results and lifestyle advice within 48 hours.
  • The company uses accredited laboratories to process tests.
  • People can perform the test at home.
  • The company provides instructional videos.
  • People can sign up for a subscription to save money on the tests.

Cons

  • It is not clear whether Lab.Me accepts FSAs or HSAs for payment.

At the time of publication, Lab.Me Advanced Ferritin Test costs $59. People who wish to test their levels regularly can save 5% or 10% by subscribing to receive a test once every 6 or 3 months, respectively.

Cerascreen Ferritin Test

Best for same-day shipping

This test measures how well the body stores iron.

The company states that the test is not suitable for people living with HIV or hemophilia. Moreover, individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a doctor before using this test.

Once a person orders this ferritin test, they will need to collect a blood sample with a finger prick. Then, they need to send the sample back to the company in a prepaid envelope.

People can access their test results through the Cerascreen website or app.

Cerascreen offers same-day shipping if a person orders before 2 p.m. EST. The company states that the average delivery time is 4–6 days.

The company uses CLIA-approved laboratories to test the blood samples.

Pros

  • People can access test results online through the website or app.
  • The company uses accredited laboratories to process tests.
  • People can perform the test at home.

Cons

  • It is not clear whether the company accepts HSAs or FSAs for payment.
  • The company does not offer a subscription discount, although it does offer a percentage off if a person signs up for an email newsletter.

At the time of publication, Cerascreen Ferritin Test has a retail price of $89.

Pixel by Labcorp Ferritin Blood Test

Best for fast results

Pixel by Labcorp provides a variety of at-home test kits, including one that checks ferritin levels.

Learn more about Pixel by Labcorp here.

If a person orders this test, they will have to visit a Labcorp laboratory with a photo ID and a requisition order. A trained technician will then take a blood sample.

Pixel by Labcorp states that people will receive their test results within 2 days through its website. If a test result indicates the need for prompt attention, the company will call the person to give them advice.

Pixel by Labcorp accepts HSAs and FSAs.

Pros

  • This test is one of the more affordable test options.
  • The company offers advice on the return of a positive test.
  • The company accepts HSA and FSA payment methods.

Cons

  • A person cannot take this test at home and must instead go to one of the company’s affiliated laboratory locations.

At the time of publication, Pixel by Labcorp Ferritin Blood Test costs $38.

A person should interpret their results with the help of a healthcare professional. If a blood test shows that a person’s iron levels are too high or too low, a doctor will be able to offer advice and recommend treatment options.

People should also contact a doctor if they are experiencing symptoms that are worrying, even if a blood test states that their iron levels are within a healthy range.

The following are some frequently asked questions about taking an at-home iron test:

How do I use an at-home iron test?

At-home test kits come with instructions on how to take a sample. People should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure an accurate result.

Many at-home tests require the following steps:

  1. Order a kit online or at a local pharmacy.
  2. Use the provided testing materials to perform a finger prick.
  3. Collect a blood sample.
  4. Send the sample to a laboratory.
  5. Wait for the results.

The company that provides the test kit will inform a person of their test results through its website or app. Some companies will offer follow-up phone calls to discuss results that reveal low or high iron levels.

A person should discuss their results with a healthcare professional to receive advice and learn about any necessary treatment options.

Are at-home iron tests accurate?

At-home iron tests can be accurate. Users should follow all instructions to ensure that they are providing a valid sample.

Some people may wish to buy at-home tests that process samples in CLIA-approved or CAP-accredited laboratories. If a company sends the samples to these laboratories, it means that the technicians follow guidelines that reduce the risk of invalid test results.

Iron tests measure the amount of iron in the blood and how well the body absorbs it. The results may indicate an iron deficiency or an iron overload.

At-home tests may check for similar markers to a blood test that a doctor might order.

When taking an iron test at home, a person should follow all the instructions carefully and follow up with a healthcare professional if they receive abnormal results.