11:37 am - Sunday February 24, 2019

Lactoferrin boosts immunity, heals wounds & guards against cancer

With many health benefits, lactoferrin is an important iron-binding protein. The major A Glass of Milkform of this powerful protein is secreted into human bio fluids such as milk, blood, tears, saliva, and is responsible for most of the host defense properties.

Researchers are starting to use lactoferrin as a potential therapeutic protein because of the many beneficial activities associated with it. Lactoferrin can be orally active, in contrast to many other therapeutic proteins which need to be injected into patients.

In the upcoming June issue of the journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology, lactoferrin is one the subject for study.

Special issue guest editor Dr. Hans Vogel, a professor at the University of Calgary, says, “We now know that lactoferrin is a protein that has many functions in innate immunity and that it plays a role in protecting us from bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoan infections. It can even protect us from some forms of cancer. Some people describe this therapeutic protein as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of the human host defense system. In part it does all this by binding iron, but many other properties of the protein contribute to its function.”

Twenty seven articles and review papers contributed by leading international researchers are comprised in this special issue. The role of lactoferrin on skin wound healing, impacts of lactoferrin on small intestinal growth and development during early life, use of bovine lactoferrin on the inhibition of influenza and in the prevention of preterm delivery associated with sterile inflammation are among the studies presented.

A Chinese research group, led by Professor Ning Li in Beijing has made one important contribution that has already been published online. The study shows that consumption of milk containing increased levels of the lactoferrin protein modulates the composition of the gut microflora, which promotes health, in turn.

This research relies on extensive biochemistry and molecular biology to produce the lactoferrin protein and to analyze the changes in the composition of the gut microflora. While the article describes an animal model study, the results can probably be extended to humans.

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