Lactoferrin, well-known by the name of lactotransferrin is a type of iron-binding glycoprotein. It is secreted with bodily fluids that include tears, milk, saliva, vaginal fluids, and secretions from the lungs and nose, digestive juices, and urine.
It provides an antibacterial and immune-supporting activity to human infants. Lactoferrin is a component of the immune system that is responsible for the defense at a mucosal level, due to its high antimicrobial activity. Lactoferrin is also found in secondary neutrophil granules, blood, amniotic fluid. It binds to DNA and other molecules that include casein, albumin, etc.
Know about Lactoferrin
Lactoferrin helps in increasing the immune functions of breastfed infants. It is believed to be widely important for maintaining immune functions further in life past infancy. The interesting fact that very few people know is that it helps to develop the gastrointestinal and immune systems in newborns.
The iron-bound form of lactoferrin is called holo-lactoferrin whereas lactoferrin without iron is called apo-lactoferrin.
- Helps the immune system and prevents inflammation
- It has Anti-cancer properties
- Supports the iron absorption
- Shields preterm infants
- Promotes Bone Health
Marker of Inflammation and Infections
Lactoferrin kills the bacteria and protects you from the infection. Therefore, natural lactoferrin levels in our bodies at the time of inflammation and infections. To combat bacterial infections, blood lactoferrin rapidly rises and iron levels drop during E, Coli infection in the blood mice.
Doctors test lactoferrin in the stool to detect inflammation in the intestines, especially to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease. Fecal lactoferrin levels also naturally rise in the case of Clostridium Difficile infections in humans.
Iron can cause oxidative stress, lactoferrin can reduce the oxidative stress by binding and removing the iron. It prevents cell damage or cell death. Lactoferrin supplementation can support the immune system as an antioxidant.
Roles in Immunity
There are lactoferrin receptors on many immune cells, so lactoferrin directly affects how these cells function. It exerts the changes on while blood cells, through increasing natural killer cells, neutrophils, and macrophage activities. This increases cytokine and Nitric Oxide production with pathogen growth. Lactoferrin also affects adaptive immune cells.
Lactoferrin helps you to stop the activity of bacteria. Most bacteria need iron to function, and lactoferrin can stop bacteria from taking up iron in the human body. It can also block bacteria’s carbohydrate metabolism, destabilize the cell walls and interact with Lysozymes in milk to stop bacteria.
Health Benefits with Lactoferrin
The health benefits of lactoferrin are as follows:
Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy
Lactoferrin helps you in iron absorption in the intestine. It is also responsible for the delivery of iron to cells. Lactoferrin showed better effects on hemoglobin levels in pregnant women with moderate anemia.
Premature Delivery Risks
Many preterm babies suffer from necrotizing enterocolitis when bacteria can destroy the intestinal walls and cause the intestinal cells to die. Lactoferrin is naturally found in breast milk in high amounts, it is another way of breastfeeding that is essential for infant development.
Additionally, lactoferrin stopped the shortening of the cervical length. It also reduces uterine contractions and prevents vaginal infections in two clinical trials.
36 young adults were given milk with lactoferrin and their skin condition improved. They had less acne and skin inflammation compared to the placebo group. In a diabetic patient, topical applications of recombinant lactoferrin improved the healing of foot ulcers with no side effects.
In a preliminary study of 11 patients with chronic hepatitis C, an 8-week treatment of bovine lactoferrin significantly reduced serum alanine transaminase and the viral RNA in patients with milder forms of infection.
Cancer Treatment Support
Lactoferrin supports the immune system by activating microbe- and cancer-fighting cells such as natural killer (NK) cells and T Lymphocytes. Researchers have developed human recombinant lactoferrin, talactoferrin, that showed promising results as a drug candidate. Bovine Lactoferrin decreases breast cancer cell viability and cell growth and increases cell death in a couple of cell-based studies.
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Lactoferrin has many benefits and it can also be transported into the gut immune system. Once lactoferrin enters systemic circulation, it is cleared rapidly by the liver. To know more about lactoferrin stay tuned with us! For any queries drop a comment below!