Lactoferrin is a protein found in all mammalian secretions, including milk, tears, and saliva. It is found in the highest concentrations in colostrum (mother’s first milk) and amniotic fluid. Bovine lactoferrin is harvested and purified from cow’s milk immediately after it is pasteurized and the fat is skimmed. The result of this choice and rigorous processing methods is that bovine lactoferrin is free of contamination (contains less than 1 endotoxin unit per milligram) and is >95% pure, whole protein. This extraordinarily pure profile allows bovine lactoferrin to function in the important ways that nature has intended, and that science has explored.
Lactoferrin is a large protein molecule, one of several hundred proteins, peptides and growth factors found in milk. It was first identified about 50 years ago as “the iron binding protein”. Since then lactoferrin has been studied by scientists around the world, providing us with insight about the functions of lactoferrin in addition to binding iron. Lactoferrin has been found to be safe for several uses in the US where it is broadly available as a nutritional supplement. It is used as a component in Biotene oral care brand products. Outside of the US it is widely used to supplement infant formula and the overwhelming volume of lactoferrin produced is for this purpose.
Globally, the vast majority of bovine lactoferrin production comes from cheese whey, which is otherwise a waste byproduct of the cheese making process. This is the cheapest way to produce “supplement grade” material for which there are no generally accepted quality standards. It is of great concern that the process of producing cheese leads to byproduct contamination from mold, yeast and bacteria. Degraded lactoferrin produces protein fragments and large quantities of endotoxin, a pro-inflammatory substance. This is counterproductive for consumers interested in “immune support” offered by bovine lactoferrin. It’s important to the purity of the final product that Acacia™ bovine lactoferrin is harvested from fresh cow’s milk immediately after it is pasteurized and the fat is skimmed. It’s the result of rigorous processing choices that Acacia bovine lactoferrin contains less than 1 endotoxin unit per milligram of product.
Lactoferrin is one of the components of the immune system of the body; it shows antimicrobial activity and is part of the body’s innate defense system. This is especially important in human infants as it raises their immune responses.
Lactoferrin is used in treating stomach and intestinal ulcers, diarrhea, and hepatitis C. It is an antioxidant that helps 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. Research shows that lactoferrin may play a role in resolving health issues such as iron deficiency and diarrhea. Lactoferrin protects against bacterial infection by preventing the growth of bacteria by depriving them of essential nutrients or destroying their cell walls. The lactoferrin found in a mother’s breast milk is credited as helping protect the baby against bacterial infections. It is linked to protecting the baby from infections caused by viruses and fungi. Lactoferrin also seems to be linked to the regulation of bone marrow function and an improved immune system.
Lactoferrin is in the chemical family called cytokines. This family of chemicals coordinates the body’s cellular immune defensive response that protects us from most infections, tumors and cancers. They boost the activity of T-cells and stimulate production of immunoglobulins. Without cytokines the immune system suffers and reacts by creating an overactive immune response. Essential to our body’s first line of defense, lactoferrin is active in protecting orifices such as the eyes, mouth and nose from bacterial infection.
Iron deficiency is a fairly common disorder and the result can be extreme anemia, causing fatigue, lethargy, heart palpitations and even shortness of breath. Common sufferers of iron deficiency are women, children, and vegetarians. Lactoferrin is a bioactive molecule that supports homeostasis: it can provide iron to cells that need it and limit it to cells with excess. It is involved in both the breakdown and absorption of iron in the intestine.
Epiphany Therapeutics now offers Acacia Purified Bovine Lactoferrin. It is manufactured from milk, not cheese whey or by-products, gluten free, manufactured to both vegetarian and kosher standards and each capsule contains 250 mg of purified bovine lactoferrin. You get all of the good you could want from a lactoferrin product with none of the bacteria or endotoxin that might cause an inflammatory response in the digestive system. Purity matters.