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Ferritin, the primary iron storage protein, generally reflects iron levels in the body. Low levels indicate iron deficiency, while high levels suggest iron overload. However, it is also an acute-phase protein that can increase during inflammation, infection, and certain diseases, without necessarily indicating chronic iron overload.
Studies have linked high ferritin levels to increased inflammatory markers, disease severity, and elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Conversely, low ferritin levels are associated with iron deficiency anemia and reduced erythropoiesis. Despite this, its association with cardiovascular disease risk isn't consistently observed across genders, and elevated levels may be influenced by other factors such as lifestyle and inflammation.
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