What Does Low MCH Blood Test Mean?

Nutritional deficiencies can cause anemia; if you are anemic, your laboratory tests show a low MCH, or indicate corpuscular hemoglobin, and low MCHC, or suggest corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. MCH and MCHC are used to identify anemia and can help determine what type of anemia you have. Although a healthy diet helps prevent anemia and low MCH or MCHC, some medical conditions can cause anemia even if you eat a good diet.

What can cause the mean corpuscular hemoglobin to be too low?

Typically, if the MCH level is below 26, this is considered too low. The MCH level can be too low due to the fact that of blood loss with time, too little iron in the body, or microcytic anemia. Microcytic anemia is a condition in which unusually small red cell are present. Smaller red cell means that less hemoglobin suits each cell. Microcytic anemia is often caused by insufficient iron. As was mentioned previously, hemoglobin is compound present in red blood cells that help bring oxygen to cells in the body. Hemoglobinopathy, which is a group of conditions identified by changes in the structure of hemoglobin, can likewise cause a low MCH level.


Your red blood cells include hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from your lungs to your body cells. A laboratory test called the total blood count, or CBC, determines the quantity of hemoglobin in each red cell– the MCH. The MCHC determines the quantity of hemoglobin in each red cell in relation to the size of the cell. If your hemoglobin is low, your body cells do not get appropriate oxygen, according to artplay-katok.ru. A typical adult MCH is 27 to 31 picograms per cell and a regular adult MCHC is 32 to 36 grams per deciliter.


Your body requires iron to produce hemoglobin. When your intake of iron is insufficient for your daily needs, iron deficiency anemia results and can cause a low MCH or MCHC. Although iron supplements is an alternative for iron deficiency anemia, you also may have the ability to enhance your iron intake by eating more iron-rich foods. Foods high in iron include eggs, meat and leafy green veggies. Other good sources of iron are dried fruits, beans, peas and iron-fortified foods such as bread, cereals and pasta.

Iron Absorption

Foods that are abundant in vitamin C can help you absorb iron much better if you eat or drink them with iron-containing foods. High vitamin C foods include citrus fruits, broccoli, kiwi fruit, mangoes, melons, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes. Celiac disease avoids absorption of iron, while gastric surgery likewise can cause impaired absorption, especially if the intestinal tracts are surgically shortened. Individuals who are unable to absorb iron from dietary sources may need iron injections.

what does mch low mean on a blood test

Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies are another source of low MCH or MCHC. A shortage in folate, among the B vitamins, can cause anemia. Your body does not store quite folate, and if you do not eat foods high in folate every few days, you may develop low folic acid levels and end up being anemic. Folate is found in leafy green vegetables, beans, meats, liver, wheat bran and whole grains. Vitamin B12 is another B vitamin found in meats and dairy products that can cause anemia when it is deficient.

Considerations and Warnings

Anemia can make you short of breath; you might tire easily, have pale skin, headaches, dizziness or a fast heartbeat. Anemia also might be a symptom of a serious issue such as cancer. If you think that you have anemia or that your diet may be low in iron or vitamins, consult a health care expert.


Updated: March 10, 2017 — 1:24 pm

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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