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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.

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, DNA creation, and electron transferral.

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.

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

An iron test is often just one component of a general blood test, as lab 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 as ferritin is a marker of inflammation, 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, a person can opt for an at-home testing kit that performs 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.

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.

If a person gets test results that indicate low iron levels or experiences 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.

The signs and symptoms of iron overload include:

Iron overload can either be 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.

If test results show high iron levels, or symptoms of iron overload occur, a person should contact a doctor for further advice and treatment.

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

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

This product tests for:

  • iron
  • TIBC
  • ferritin
  • transferrin saturation

Once a person purchases the test, they must register it through LetsGetChecked’s website. The test includes all necessary equipment and instructions. After taking a blood sample, the individual must return it via the pre-paid 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’s nurses will call them to discuss the next steps.

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

LetsGetChecked accepts health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

At the time of publishing, LetsGetChecked’s 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

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

Lab.me includes an instructional video that the customer can watch to learn how to take their sample. Once a person has taken their sample, they send it to the company in a pre-paid 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 labs to process the blood samples.

At the time of publishing, the 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

This test also measures how well the body stores iron. Cerascreen states that it is not suitable for people with HIV or hemophilia. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their 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 must send the sample back to the company in a pre-paid envelope. People can access their test results through Cerascreen’s 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 labs to test the blood samples.

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

Pixel by Labcorp Ferritin Blood Test

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

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 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.

At the time of publishing, Pixel by Labcorp’s 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 any 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 normal 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.

However, 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 lab.
  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 find out about the 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 labs. If a company sends the samples to these labs, 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 of the instructions carefully and follow up with a doctor if they receive abnormal results.