The ingredient we will introduce today is lactoferrin. It is a substance found in abundance in the colostrum of humans and cows, and has recently become very popular in the ‘lactoferrin diet’.
But did you know that lactoferrin is also an antibacterial substance? Due to its ability to easily bind and separate from iron, when lactoferrin is consumed, the iron in the body that bacteria need binds to lactoferrin first, thereby inhibiting bacterial growth. In addition, it is known to regulate immune function and is widely used in children's powdered milk and baby food for the purpose of strengthening immunity.
Now, through research papers, we will learn about the benefits of consuming lactoferrin, from diet to immunity.
1. Reduces Visceral Fat
Visceral fat refers to fat that accumulates around organs, including the liver and stomach. If the accumulation of visceral fat is severe, the risk of complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease increases.
Lactoferrin is known to be absorbed through the lymphatic route when it reaches the small intestine and accumulates in mesenteric fat, thereby inhibiting lipid synthesis and promoting lipolysis.
In relation to this, a study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2010 showing that visceral fat area decreased when lactoferrin was consumed.
“Visceral fat area and total fat area significantly decreased over time in the lactoferrin (eLF) group.”
Reference : Ono, T., Murakoshi, M., Suzuki, N., Iida, N., Ohdera, M., Iigo, M., . . . Nishino, H. (2010). Potent anti-obesity effect of enteric-coated lactoferrin: Decrease in visceral fat accumulation in Japanese men and women with abdominal obesity after 8-week administration of enteric-coated lactoferrin tablets. British Journal of Nutrition, 104(11), 1688-1695.
2. Improves Immunity
Our body's immune system is divided into two types: innate immunity and acquired immunity. Innate immunity refers to immunity that a person has before being infected by a foreign substance, and acquired immunity refers to immunity acquired through infection or vaccination. One of the cells responsible for acquired immunity is ‘T cells’.
T cells have a memory ability, so when exposed to the same antigen again, they are quickly activated and produce a rapid immune response. Additionally, T cells are divided into helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, regulatory T cells, gamma-delta T cells, and natural killer T cells. Among these, cytotoxic T cells recognize and eliminate virus-infected cells. It is widely known that if these T cells do not function properly, the overall immune system may collapse.
In 2008, a paper was published in Nutrition Research that reported that T cell activity increased when lactoferrin was consumed.
“This report shows that lactoferrin, specifically 100 mg oral supplementation for 7 days followed by 200 mg oral supplementation for 7 days, improves total, helper, and cytotoxic T cell activation and hydrophilic antioxidant status. This finding suggests that lactoferrin supplementation significantly improves total, helper, and cytotoxic T cell activation and hydrophilic antioxidant status in healthy people. “It suggests the potential to be a useful nutritional supplement to support immune stimulation and antioxidant capacity status.”
Reference : Mulder, A. M., Connellan, P. A., Oliver, C. J., Morris, C. A., & Stevenson, L. M. (2008). Bovine lactoferrin supplementation supports immune and antioxidant status in healthy human males. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 28(9), 583–589.
3. Helicobacter Pylori Eradication Effect
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that mainly infects the gastrointestinal mucosa and causes chronic indigestion, gastritis, and gastric ulcers. If you are infected with Helicobacter pylori, it is not easy to treat. This is because Helicobacter pylori resides on the surface of the gastrointestinal mucosa or gastric mucus, making it difficult for treatment drugs to reach the area where the bacteria are present, and easily becomes resistant to antibiotics.
As explained earlier, lactoferrin binds to iron in the body, preventing the supply of iron needed for bacterial growth.
Regards to this matter, a paper published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics in 2006 reported that the Helicobacter pylori eradication rate was higher when lactoferrin was used in standard triple therapy for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori.
“Both intention-to-treat analysis (ITT) and protocol analysis (PP) showed that the eradication rate was significantly higher in group C (standard triple therapy + lactoferrin) compared to the other two regimens.””
Reference : Di Mario, F., Aragona, G., Dal Bó, N., Cavallaro, L., Marcon, V., Olivieri, P., Benedetti, E., Orzès, N., Marin, R., Tafner, G., Chilovi, F., De Bastiani, R., Fedrizzi, F., Franceschi, M., Salvat, M. H., Monica, F., Piazzi, L., Valiante, F., Vecchiati, U., Cavestro, G. M., … Gastrointestinal Study Unit (GISU) (2006). Bovine lactoferrin for Helicobacter pylori eradication: an open, randomized, multicentre study. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 23(8), 1235–1240.
Today, we looked at the benefits of consuming lactoferrin through research papers. Lactoferrin has body fat reducing effects and antibacterial and antiviral effects, but since it is usually extracted from milk, those who are allergic to milk and dairy products should be careful when consuming it.
I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.