The Differences Between Blood Iron and Serum Iron

Are you curious to know about the details of iron in your blood? Well, get ready, we are going to talk about the differences between blood iron and serum iron.

You may be asking, “Aren’t they the same thing?” That’s where things get interesting.

But here’s the thing: Iron exists in different forms in our bloodstream, and that’s where the confusion often creeps in. Let’s break it down.

There are two different ways to measure the iron levels in our bodies: blood iron and serum iron.

Blood iron refers to the total amount of iron circulating within our red blood cells, while serum iron refers to the iron present in our blood plasma.

Now, you might be wondering, why do we need to know the difference?

Knowing these two; blood iron and serum iron, can help us learn more about different health conditions and make it easier to diagnose and treat disorders related to iron in our bodies.

Whether you’re concerned about anemia, iron overload, or simply want to monitor your iron levels for optimal well-being, this knowledge will help you make better choices.

In this blog post, you’ll know the difference between blood iron and serum iron, what they do, and why they’re important for your health.

Are you ready to learn all about the differences? Let’s jump right in.

Blood Iron Versus Serum Iron

Blood Iron

Blood iron is the total amount of iron present in your blood, including both bound and unbound iron.

It encompasses the iron stored in red blood cells, as well as the iron bound to transport proteins such as transferrin.

Blood iron levels provide valuable information about the body’s iron stores.

Serum Iron

To get serum, a blood sample is allowed to form a clot. After that, the clotting factors, including cells, and fibrinogen are removed.

Serum iron is the iron that is easily usable by different parts of our body, like tissues and organs.

Differences Between Blood Iron and Serum Iron


Blood iron includes both bound and unbound iron. It takes into account iron present in hemoglobin, ferritin, and transferrin.

Serum iron, however, focuses on the iron that is not bound to proteins and is available for immediate use.


To measure blood iron, a complete blood count test is done. This test gives you information about red blood cell count, hemoglobin levels, hematocrit, and other related parameters.

Serum iron levels are measured using a blood sample that has been centrifuged to separate the serum from other components.

Diagnostic Significance

Blood iron levels are important in diagnosing conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, where low levels may indicate inadequate iron stores for red blood cell production.

Blood iron levels can also provide insights into conditions like hemochromatosis, an iron overload disorder.

On the other hand, serum iron levels are more indicative of the iron that is available for use by the body’s tissues and organs.

Influencing Factors

Different factors affects the levels of iron in your blood and serum.

Certain factors like inflammation, drugs, and how much iron your body can store all influences your blood iron levels.

The levels of serum iron can be influenced by what you eat, iron absorption efficiency, and how iron-binding proteins are regulated in your body.

Conclusion: The Difference Between Blood Iron and Serum Iron

Knowing the differences between blood iron and serum iron is important for checking your iron levels and diagnosing iron-related health issues.

When it comes to iron, blood iron gives a general idea of how much iron is stored in the body, while serum iron shows the amount of iron that is ready to be used right away.

Both blood iron and serum iron measurements are important for understanding a person’s iron status and deciding on the right actions to maintain good health.

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