What is Lactoferrin?

Lactoferrin, a multifunctional iron binding glycoprotein, plays an important role in immune regulation and defence mechanisms against bacteria, fungi and viruses. Lactoferrin's iron withholding ability is related to inhibition of microbial growth as well as to modulation of motility, aggregation, and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria. Independently of iron-binding capability, lactoferrin interacts with microbial, viral, and cell surfaces thus inhibiting microbial and viral adhesion and entry into host cells. [1]

Lactoferrin is a protein found in both human milk and cow (bovine) milk. The colostrum that mammalian mothers make after a baby is born has about 7 times the amount of lactoferrin in mature milk. Colostrum is the first food that a mammalian mother produces after a baby is born, and the lactoferrin in colostrum aids protect a newborn against infections caused by harmful microbes. Lactoferrin may aid bolster your innate immunities, aka the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders. Research has demonstrated antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, lactoferrin may aid stimulate the white blood cells at the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and decrease the effects of certain bacteria. As a result, lactoferrin can play an important role in the development of beneficial intestinal flora the microbiome, and the optimization of the immune system.

Lactoferrin Meaning

Medical Definition of lactoferrina red iron-binding protein synthesized by neutrophils and glandular epithelial cells, found in many human secretions (as tears and milk)

Lacto: a combining form meaning “milk,” used in the formation of compound words (lactometer); specialized in chemical terminology to mean “lactate,” or “lactic acid.”

Ferrin - Feritin: Ferritin is a universal intracellular protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled fashion. The protein is produced by almost all living organisms


How Does Lactoferrin Work?

Lactoferrin aids regulate the absorption of iron in the intestine and delivery of iron to the cells. It also looks to protect against bacterial infection, probably by preventing the growth of bacteria by depriving them of essential nutrients or by killing bacteria by destroying their cell walls. The lactoferrin in mother milk is credited to protect breastfed infants against bacterial infections. Furthermore, to bacterial infections, lactoferrin looks to be active against infections caused by some fungi and viruses. Lactoferrin also seems to be included with regulation of bone marrow function (myelopoiesis), and it looks to be able to boost the body’s defense (immune) system.

Lactoferrin is used for treating stomach and intestinal ulcers, hepatitis C, and diarrhea. It’s also used as an antioxidant and to protect against viral and bacterial infections. Other uses include stimulating the immune system, preventing tissue damage of aging, healthy intestinal bacteria, preventing cancer, and regulating the way the body develops iron. Few researchers suggest lactoferrin can play a role in solving global health issues like iron deficiency and severe diarrhea. In industrial agriculture, lactoferrin is used for killing bacteria while meat processing.


How Can Lactoferrin Help?

Lactoferrin has multifunctional properties in human health.

Thousands of scientific papers have been published since the discovery of lactoferrin in 1939, which have clearly established its multiple functions at the physiological, cellular, and molecular levels.

The potential advantages of lactoferrin include the following:

  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Preventing damage related to aging
  • Promoting beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract
  • Regulating bacteria, fungi, and viruses (an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent)
  • Regulating iron metabolism
  • Transporting iron as needed into the bloodstream and to the cells
  • Powerful Antioxidant
  • Skin Health
  • Iron Homeostasis
  • Bone Health
  • Digestive Health​