A protein that is found in milk, tears, mucus, bile, and some white blood cells and is being studied in the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is involved in fighting against infection and inflammation and it acts as an antioxidant.
Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein that belongs to the iron
transporter or transferrin family. It was originally isolated from bovine milk, where it is found as a minor protein component of whey proteins. Lactoferrin contains 703 amino acids
Lactoferrin can be purified from milk or produced recombinantly. Human colostrum
has the highest concentration, followed by human milk, then cows' milk. In addition to its presence in milk, it is also found in exocrine secretions of mammals and is released from neutrophil
granules during inflammation
Function; Why it is Recommended
Lactoferrin is a multifunctional protein with antimicrobial
activity (bacteriocide and fungicide), that is also part of the body's innate defense system, mainly in the mucous membranes
Lactoferrin is considered a multi-tasking protein, playing several biological rôles
. Owing to its iron-binding properties, lactoferrin is thought to play a rôle in iron
uptake by the intestinal mucosa
of a newborn. That is, it appears to be the source of iron for breast-fed infants. It also appears to have antibacterial, antiviral
and immunomodulatory activities.
There is some preliminary evidence from in vitro and animal research that supplemental lactoferrin may have some immune-enhancing effects. There is no evidence that it is effective as a treatment or preventive in any form of cancer. Neither is there any credible evidence to support claims that it helps those with fatigue
Oral lactoferrin dosed at 40mg daily has been used in a couple of clinical trials of the substance. Those who supplement with lactoferrin typically take 250mg daily. Lactoferrin is also found in whey protein supplements.