Lactoferrin is a protein found in cow milk and human milk.
- Lactoferrin is best known for its immune stimulating abilities. Specifically, this powerful protein boosts the first line defenses of the immune system through the stimulation of white blood cells and its action right at the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.
- It also is antibacterial and antiviral, so it not only increases your body’s ability to fight infection; it also kills bacteria and viruses for a double whammy against infections.
- It can also be used as a supportive therapy in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy because of its ability to increase innate immunity. While it supports a stronger immune system for cancer patients, it can also reduce the side effects of chemo.
- Interestingly, lactoferrin can be used to increase bone health. Studies have shown that lactoferrin can stimulate bone growth by stimulating the activity of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts are the cells that create and strengthen bone.
- Evidence suggests that supplementing with lactoferrin actually increases the phagocytic (the engulfment and destruction of foreign invaders and debris) activity of immune cells, as well as stimulating the natural killer cells of the immune system.
- Lactoferrin also works directly at the intestinal mucosa to stimulate the production of intestinal cells and to promote the good bacteria of the intestine. It does this by reducing the “bad bacteria” and helping the spread of the “good bacteria” such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
- Lactoferrin’s antioxidant and antibacterial activity comes from its ability to bind iron. Free iron is a harmful oxidant and promotes bacterial growth. Lactoferrin will bind free iron, making it unavailable to bacteria, which require it for growth and multiplication.
- Due to lactoferrin’s ability to transport iron, it may also increase the body’s ability to absorb iron. Taking lactoferrin along with supplemental iron or a diet rich in iron can improve anemia.
- Lactoferrin is safe in amounts consumed in food. Consuming higher amounts of lactoferrin from cow’s milk might also be safe for up to a year. Human lactoferrin that is made from specially processed rice appears to be safe for up to 14 days. Lactoferrin can cause diarrhea. In very high doses, skin rash, loss of appetite, fatigue, chills, and constipation have been reported.
- Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lactoferrin is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts should be avoided until more is known.
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Source: WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-49-lactoferrin.aspx?activeingredientid=49&activeingredientname=lactoferrin