What other names is Lactoferrin known by?
Apolactoferrin, Bovine Lactoferrin, Human Lactoferrin, Lactoferrina, Lactoferrine, Lactoferrine Bovine, Lactoferrine Humaine, Lactoferrine Humaine Recombinante, Lactoferrines, Lactoferrins, Recombinant Human Lactoferrin.
What is Lactoferrin?
Lactoferrin is a protein found in cow milk and human milk. Colostrum, the first milk produced after a baby is born, contains high levels of lactoferrin, about seven times the amount found in milk produced later on. Lactoferrin is also found in fluids in the eye, nose, respiratory tract, intestine, and elsewhere. People use lactoferrin as medicine.
Some people worry about getting "mad cow disease
" from medicinal lactoferrin taken from cows, but this risk is generally considered very small. Additionally, most medicinal human lactoferrin is taken from specially engineered rice.
Lactoferrin is used for treating stomach and intestinal ulcers, diarrhea
, and hepatitis C
. It is also used as an antioxidant
and to protect against bacterial and viral infections. Other uses include stimulating the immune system, preventing tissue damage related to aging
, promoting healthy intestinal bacteria, preventing cancer
, and regulating the way the body processes iron.
Some researchers suggest lactoferrin might play a role in solving global health problems such as iron deficiency
and severe diarrhea
In industrial agriculture, lactoferrin is used to kill bacteria during meat processing.
Possibly Effective for...
- Hepatitis C. Some patients with hepatitis C seem to respond to lactoferrin taken from cows. Doses of 1.8 or 3.6 grams/day of lactoferrin are needed. Lower doses don't seem to work.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Helicobacter pylori infection (an ulcer-causing bacterial infection). There is conflicting research about the effectiveness of adding lactoferrin from cows (bovine lactoferrin) to standard ulcer treatments. Some studies show bovine lactoferrin improves the effectiveness of some prescription medications. Other studies show no benefit. However, studies do agree that treating Helicobacter pylori infection with bovine lactoferrin alone isn't effective, even at high doses.
- Stimulating the immune system.
- Preventing damage related to aging.
- Promoting healthy bacteria in the intestine.
- Regulating iron metabolism.
- Fighting bacteria and viruses (antibacterial and antiviral agent).
- Use as an antioxidant.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lactoferrin for these uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).