Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein found in our immune-defense system. Human colostrum (pre-milk) has the highest concentration of lactoferrin, followed by human milk, and then cow’s milk. Because it is synthesized by the mammary glands, making it abundant in colostrum and milk, is involved in the initial protection for newborns. It can be found throughout the human body in the secretions of the eyes, nose, mouth, respiratory & intestinal tracts, and in the urinary-reproductive tracts.
Lactoferrin comes from the transferrin family, which are iron-binding blood plasma glycoproteins that carry iron to the cells, and control the level of free iron in the blood, and external secretions.
Lactoferrin's primary role is to sequester free iron, and in doing so, remove the substrate required for bacterial growth. It can also bind to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and destroy them on contact, while being a key element to combat excessive inflammation.
It is one of the first factors released by neutrophils (one type of white blood cell) upon encounter with pathogens. Although it also has other antibacterial mechanisms, not related to iron, Lactoferrin not only disrupts the bacterial membrane, but can even penetrate into the cell.
It can prevent the attachment of H. pylori in the stomach, which in turn, aids in reducing digestive system disorders. Bovine lactoferrin has more activity against H. pylori than human lactoferrin.
Anti fungal activity
Lactoferrin and lactoferricin may inhibit growth of Trichophyton mentagrophytes, which is responsible for several skin diseases such as ringworm. Lactoferrin also acts against Candida albicans – a fungal form of yeast- that causes opportunistic oral and genital infections in humans.
Lactoferrin appears to play a role in;
Being especially helpful for anyone with gut-based infections, anemia, or problems with vitamin B12 uptake.
Regulating bone marrow function, and as such has been used to boost the immune system with the goal of preventing cancer.
Improving bone health as research indicates, lactoferrin can stimulate bone turnover by slowing down bone resorption, and the speeding up bone formation.
For cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, lactoferrin may provide a supplemental treatment option. It increases a cancer patient’s innate immunity and helps reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
In industrial agriculture, lactoferrin is used to kill bacteria during meat processing.
Lactoferrin also may be used in conjunction with specific strains of friendly bacteria. Together, lactoferrin and friendly bacteria have been shown to help boost the immune function.
Other benefits of lactoferrin include:
Stimulating the immune system
Preventing damage related to aging
Promoting beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract
Acting as an antioxidant
Transporting vitamin B12 in the body
Treats stomach, intestinal ulcers, diarrhea, as well as iron deficiency.
Important to note here, if you are having any of the conditions mentioned, than more than likely, you are low on lactoferrin, but it is always best to run some labs and make sure you are not just covering up an even bigger problem brewing underneath.
Remember, Inflammation loves, and thrives on iron. Gastrointestinal issues ALL stem from an inflammatory process, and this inflammation leads to malabsorption, which leads to weight gain, anemia and more inflammation, which causes joint pain, migraines, diarrhea and fatigue...and the saga continues.