Let’s discover together the properties and benefits of Lactoferrin, an element of fundamental importance for the transport of iron in the bloodstream
Integratore Lattoferrina is a protein belonging to the group of glycoproteins which carries out the task of transporting iron in the blood, with capacity twice that of transferrin, and which also possesses remarkable antimicrobial properties.
Isolated in cow’s milk by scientists Sorensen and Sorensen, it is currently used for its antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties.
It is a compound present not only in milk, but also in various mucous secretions, such as saliva and tears, and in neutrophil granulocytes, cells belonging to the group of leukocytes (white blood cells) involved in the modulation of the body’s immune response.
How Lactoferrin Works
In relation to its strong ability to transport iron, lactoferrin is able to remove it from the metabolism of pathogenic microorganisms present in the body, causing their death and thus eliminating them from the host’s blood; based on this mechanism of action, the protein acts as an effective anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Its bacteriostatic activity takes place particularly against Escherichia Coli, a pathogen that colonizes the mucous membranes of the intestinal wall.
It also exerts a bactericidal action against many species of Gram negative bacteria, following the lesion of the most superficial membrane layers.
Regarding the anti-viral activity, lactoferrin tends to bind with the glycosaminoglycans of the plasma membrane, blocking the entry of viruses and helping to prevent the onset of infectious processes, especially in the case of Herpes Simplex, HIV and Cytomegalovirus.
Since this compound is particularly abundant in colostrum, it is able to exert an effective protective action against the intestinal mucosa of the newborn which is thus defended from any microbial infections. After the first period of life, when colostrum is no longer secreted, the newborn improves the functionality of its immune system and therefore no longer needs lactoferrin.
Some recent clinical studies have confirmed a probable involvement of this substance also in the treatment of neoplastic pathologies.
Lactoferrin based supplements
Especially during antibiotic-based therapies, the use of supplement lactoferrin has proved particularly effective in protecting intestinal mucosa by promoting the growth of the biome comprising Bifidibacterium and Lactobacillus, which are microorganisms whose metabolism is closely linked to the bioavailability of Iron. Lactoferrin-based supplements usually also contain FOS and prebiotics, which mutually activate each other creating a powerful functional synergy.
These supplements are recommended for their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and immunomodulating activity; in particular, the resistance of lactoferrin to the proteolytic action of gastric enzymes allows it to reach the intestine without being modified.
In the immunostimulating field, it stimulates the production of T lymphocytes, also modulating the activity of inflammatory cytokinins, and therefore acts synergistically on several fronts.
Its high ability to bind iron ions affects numerous metabolic processes, including oxidation-reduction reactions, exerting anti-oxidant power against various compounds.
How to use lactoferrin
Even if the side effects of lactoferrin tablets are very few, it is not recommended to take it during pregnancy and lactation, as there is a lack of long-term epidemiological studies relating to the safety of use.
Since these are products subject to free sale and which do not require the presentation of a medical prescription, lactoferrin supplements can be used freely, although it is always advisable to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before setting up a course of therapy.