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Lactoferrin’s Health Benefits: Immunity and Beyond 

Lactoferrin is a whey protein fraction that naturally occurs in milk in small amounts. By utilizing advanced processing methods, lactoferrin can be extracted to provide an ingredient at up to 95% purity, meaning consumers can easily experience the health benefits of this powerful bioactive protein in a small dose. While many consumers know lactoferrin for its immune boosting properties, the science suggests the benefits go much further, and provide opportunities for manufacturers to support consumers health and wellbeing goals.  

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While there currently aren’t any permitted health claims on lactoferrin, there are a number of clinical trials that have shown lactoferrin promotes a healthy immune system and gut microbiome1, gut-immune axis2 and increases T cell activation3. These benefits have been shown with as small a dose as 200mg in adults, with doses up to 600mg shown to speed recovery from summer colds4. Lactoferrin was also tested in Covid patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms, with a dose of 1000mg orally and 16mg nasally showing a significant improvement in symptoms and faster time to a negative PCR test compared with both standard pharmaceutical treatment and no treatment5.  

The health benefits – and potential structure function claims – of lactoferrin extend beyond just immunity. A similar dose of just 200mg has been shown to increase antioxidant state by up to 18%2, it can play a role in eye health and has even been shown to lead to moister looking and softer feeling skin during winter months6.  

As an iron-binding protein, it’s no surprise that lactoferrin can improve iron status, with evidence in a population where iron levels are often a challenge – pregnant women. With iron supplements often causing gastrointestinal upset, lactoferrin was shown to lead to health total body iron and hemoglobin levels more effectively than iron sulfate supplementation, and without any of the side effects7.  

Lactoferrin’s benefits can also begin at the start of the gastrointestinal tract – in the mouth. A 20mg dose has been shown to improve elderly oral hygiene when consumed in a lozenge after meals8. This has been supported in other studies that have shown a similar 20mg lactoferrin dose in tablet form to reduce the level of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) in oral cavity air compared with placebo9. VSCs play an important role in the progression of periodontal disease. 

With many published papers on lactoferrin, there is a wide array of potential structure-function claims covering a number of health areas. To learn more about our lactoferrin ingredients, please contact us or see our Product Page

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