What Does Low MCH Blood Test Mean?

Nutritional deficiencies can cause anemia; if you are anemic, your laboratory tests show a low MCH, or mean 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.

Often ‘mean corpuscular hgb’ used to explain MCH as well (where hgb means hemoglobin).

MCH and MCHC level ranges
Low Normal High
MCH, picograms (pg)/cell in adults <27 27-33 >33
MCHC, g/dL in adults <33 33-36 >36

MCH and MCHC Meaning

Both imply corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) and suggest corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) show the typical hemoglobin material of red blood cells in somewhat different ways. Although MCH reveals the average material (mass, weight) of hemoglobin per red cell, MCHC reveals the average weight of hemoglobin per system volume of red cell.


Ready to take blood for blood test
MCH levels are the average amount of hemoglobin that is in each red cell. MCHC levels are the typical weight of that hemoglobin based upon the volume of red blood cells. Both are a reflection of the health of the hemoglobin in the blood.

MCH, MCHC, and MCV become part of red cell indices (specifications showing size and hemoglobin material of red cells) that have generally been used to aid in the differential diagnosis of anemia. Although MCH can be used to determine if an anemia is hypo-, normo-, or hyperchromic, the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) needs to be thought about along with the MCH since cell volume (MCV) affects the content of hemoglobin present per cell (MCH), and MCH can reduce or increase in parallel to the MCV. Therefore, MCHC in the past has actually been believed to be a better specification than MCH to figure out hypochromasia.

Nevertheless, the MCHC, as determined by a multichannel analyzer nowadays, is not affected by plasma trapping, which normally results in a little increased hematocrit. MCHC is not then reduced when there is hypochromasia. Therefore, MCV together with red cell circulation width (RDW) have ended up being the two most useful parameters in classifying anemias, while MCH and MCHC do not add significant, scientifically relevant details.

What Does It Mean When Your MCH Is 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 iytmed.com. 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.

Checking MCH levels
Various types of anemia can cause low MCH levels. For example, microcytic anemia takes place when the blood cells are too small and can not take in as much hemoglobin as they should. This can be due to malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies.

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.

Low MCV and MCH but Without Anemia

Although MCH can be used to figure out if an anemia is hypo-, normo-, or hyperchromic, the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) needs to be considered in addition to the MCH given that cell volume (MCV) impacts the material of hemoglobin present per cell (MCH), and MCH can decrease or increase in parallel to the MCV. Thus, MCHC in the past has actually been thought to be a much better specification than MCH to identify hypochromasia.

To puts it simply you have little typical red cell and low average material of hemoglobin per red cell (since they’re smaller sized), without anemia. Hemoglobin is a protein in red cell that brings oxygen throughout the body. Oftentimes, a low hemoglobin count is only slightly lower than regular and does not impact how you feel. If it gets more serious and triggers symptoms, your low hemoglobin count might suggest you have anemia.

When Is Low MCH in Blood Dangerous

If your MCH low you should think about possible complications. 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.

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  1. Polly Jenkinson

    Hi! My question about mch blood test. I’ve had constantly high MCV and high MCH for as long as I’ve been checked. Not very high, I believe, but high. No doctor seems to be concerned about this, but I question – why? What does it imply? Taking huge dosages (or medium doses, or low doses) of B-12 does not repair it

    MCV: in between 100 and 110 in the past year and increasing
    MCH: not really high – between 33 (high end of normal) and 35.6

    Can anyone explain what these test results imply? Is this normal for ME, or is it my own little weirdness?

  2. MD Henry Hayes

    What does it mean when your MCV and MCH levels are low? The MCV will be lower than normal when red blood cells are as well little. This condition is called microcytic anemia. Microcytic anemia may be brought on by: iron shortage, which can be caused by inadequate dietary consumption of iron, menstrual bleeding, or intestinal bleeding.

  3. Aubrey

    I used to operate in a hematology lab so could perhaps help. Presuming you had a full blood matter, these words are referring to your red cell as well as more than likely you’re just iron deficient. Nothing that can’t be repaired. Low MCV is really just smaller sized RBC’s.

    Less frequently, the other cause of reduced MCV as well as MCH is a blood problem called thalassemia seen mostly in Mediterranean or Asian people. You may recognize if your parents have it.