The Health Benefits of Lactoferrin              


       Life Extension Lactoferrin (60 Capsules)While there are a variety of nutrients that are effective in dealing with bacterial infections, there are few nutrients that can be taken orally that fight viral infections. Lactoferrin is one of those nutrients. Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein (combination of carbohydrate and protein) that has been shown in clinical research to be effective in protecting the body from viruses that cause everything from the common cold and influenza, hepatitis B and C, and polio to some of the infections caused by the family of corona viruses.  

       Lactoferrin is found in abundance in colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced in mother’s breast milk after a baby is born. The lactoferrin found in colostrum has been found to be at seven times the amount that is present later on in the breast milk.  Breast milk lactoferrin is instrumental in protecting the newborn from infectious disease while their immune system is in development.  This is one reason breast feeding is so important to the health of a newborn.

       While lactoferrin is basically an iron binding milk protein (lacto means milk and ferrin means iron), there are 29 different types of lactoferrin all having different functions, many of which are connected with immunity and especially immunity against viruses. Lactoferrin is found in all the mucus membranes of the body and plays an important role in preventing pathogens from entering the body through the linings of the oral and nasal passageways, digestive system and all tissues having mucus membranes. 

       Viruses are microscopic organisms (much smaller than bacteria and fungi) that invade cells and use the cells machinery to reproduce themselves. Lactoferrin has been shown to obstruct a virus from invading a cell.  Lactoferrin has also been shown to activate areas of the immune system such as increasing the production of natural killer cells which play a vital role in identifying pathogens and eliminating them.  Lactoferrin stimulates the production of interferons which are a group of proteins that the body produces to directly confront virus to destroy them. 

       In a study recently posted in the Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial was done in Japan where an intake of either placebo or a 200 mg or 600 mg amount of lactoferrin was administrated for 12 weeks to healthy adults in Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. It was determined that the duration of total infectious diseases was shorter in both the 200 mg and 600 mg group then the placebo group.     

       In a 2014 review of lactoferrin research published in the Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy, it was stated that many studies have shown the in vitro (research done in a lab) antiviral activity of lactoferrin against viral pathogens that cause common infections such as the common cold, influenza, gastroenteritis, summer cold, and herpes.  In this research, lactoferrin was seen to inhibit viral attachment to the target cells.

       This article went on to explain that an increasing number of recent studies done in vivo (research done with a living organism) have shown protective effects of lactoferrin by oral administration against common viral infections.  For example, the norovirus is a human pathogen that causes a majority of gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide. In one study, lactoferrin consumption reduced the incidence of noroviral gastroenteritis in children and a similar effect was observed in a wide range of ages.  

       With the flu season approaching and covid-19 still a major threat to our health; it may be prudent to add a lactoferrin supplement to your diet.  At Milk ‘N Honey we carry a lactoferrin product from the company Life Extension. This product contains 60 capsules of lactoferrin at 300 mgs each.  Recommended dosage is one per day.