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Lactoferrin; Mother Nature's Premier Immune-Boosting Protein

Lactoferrin; Mother Nature

Friday, December 22nd 2006

The benefits of colostrum for new born babies go far beyond just food nutrients. In fact, colostrum supplements have become widely recognised as beneficial for gut health, immune support and healthy tissue repair at any age. One of the primary biologically active components in both human and bovine colostrum is the iron binding protein lactoferrin.

As a stand alone nutraceutical component, lactoferrin first came into prominence with the release of a research paper about the beneficial role of lactoferrin in AIDS patients. Since then lactoferrin has received extensive attention from research scientists, health practitioners and the general public.

Lactoferrin exhibits a broad range of biological activity including enhancement of immune function, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, promotion of healthy gut flora, regulation of iron metabolism and antioxidant effects.

The IRON Connection

Initial research focused on lactoferrin's iron-binding properties and how that impacts on iron absorption, antimicrobial activity and iron metabolism during inflammation. Lactoferrin appears to be able to enhance iron absorption, but more importantly it improves iron status when iron stores are either too low or too high. This is significant because the majority of infectious microbes require iron to grow and multiply. Lactoferrin binds the free, unbound iron, carrying it away from the sight of the infection, effectively starving the invading microorganism to death. In areas of inflammation, free iron produces free-radicals that damage body tissues. By binding the iron, lactoferrin reduces the amount of free-radicals in the inflammatory environment. Obviously good news for those with chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Lactoferrins's iron binding abilities also seem to reduce the iron radical stress in people with haemochromatosis.

Recent research indicates lactoferrin may also regulate and modulate the immune system, enhancing the body's ability to resist post surgical infection, fight the progression of certain cancers, suppress the proliferation of certain viruses, including HIV, and even stimulate bone and connective tissue formation.

Reproduced unabridged from the January - March 2007 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Anaemia and Low Iron:

Family C - 300gm
Floradix Formula 500ml
Gentle Iron
Spirulina Capsules
Superior Iron

Related health information can be found here:

Anti inflammatory
Arthritis program
Beet Root - a splendid liver and kidney cleanser, full of nutrients and iron
Feeling fatigued & dizzy with poor memory? You could be low in iron
Iron Deficiency

Related articles can be found here:

Falls Another Risk of Anaemia
Iron Helps Women's Brain Power
Iron supplementation beneficial in healthy, full - term infants
Iron Supplementation May Help Children With ADHD

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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