Lactoferrin is a natural, iron-binding glycoprotein naturally found in the human body, and the bodies of other mammals. It is naturally found in saliva, tears and milk. Due to advances in technology, lactoferrin can be concentrated from bovine milk making it possible to use as an ingredient in health and wellness products.
In addition to being renowned for its ability to naturally support the body’s immune system, lactoferrin is now being more widely used in a variety of applications from one-a-day supplements to skin and beauty products. Since lactoferrin is naturally found in our saliva it has been studied in oral health applications.
Lactoferrin and Gum Health
A group of Italian researchers looked at using lactoferrin as a treatment for periodontis. While they researchers noted in their 2011 study that more research is needed, the study found that lactoferrin’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties offer strong potential as a treatment. The researchers concluded, “…these results provide strong evidence for a role of bLf (bovine lactoferrin) in curing periodontitis, thus extending the therapeutic potential of this multifunctional natural protein.”
Inflammation of the gums and mouth can be painful and a sign of large problems. Lactoferrin possesses all natural anti-inflammatory abilities, positioning it as an ideal inclusion in oral health products. Some research indicates daily supplementation of as little as 200mg of lactoferrin can provide a therapeutic effect. Lactoferrin works by binding itself to iron in the body which inhibits microbial growth, leading to less inflammation.
Lactoferrin and Oral Wound Healing
As a natural bioactive glycoprotein found in milk, lactoferrin has been shown to help with challenges associated with wound healing such as microbes and inflammation. In oral health application, lactoferrin can be used to help fortify the body’s natural immune defenses because it binds to the iron that microbe require to proliferate.
While oral health experts can best recommend treatments, lactoferrin is a low inclusion bioactive ingredient that can provide functional benefits to oral health products.