New scientific evidence shows that acupuncture has the ability to benefit iron levels in the blood. A new study concludes that acupuncture upregulates serum ferritin and decreases TIBC (total iron binding capacity). Ferritin is an intracellular protein that stores, releases and transports blood iron. TIBC is a lab test that measures the body’s ability to bind iron with transferrin, iron-binding blood plasma glycoproteins. TIBC is high in patients with iron deficiency anemia because the liver produces increased levels of transferrin to maximize use of remaining iron stores.
In a randomized-controlled trial, researches applied acupuncture to sixty white rabbits at acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli, Leg Three Measures). The rabbits underwent food restriction and blood draws to simulate a blood deficiency condition that lowered serum ferritin and raised TIBC. Acupuncture was administered every other day for a total of 10 times. Serum ferritin and TIBC were measured using radioimmunoassay. Both on day 17 of the study and during a follow-up exam 32 days after completion of the study, the rabbits receiving acupuncture showed significantly higher levels of serum ferritin and lower TIBC than the control group.
Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2012 Feb;37(1):41-5. Effect of lifting-thrusting reinforcing-reducing manipulations of acupuncture on serum ferritin content and total iron binding capacity in blood-deficiency syndrome rabbits. Xu M, Xu AP, Sui MH. Changsha Municipal Hospital of Chinese Medicine, China.