Lactoferrin in Whey Protein

I wanted to share this that I read from Vivian Goldschmidt who does the Save Our Bones program. I had also just read another recommendation to drink a whey protein shake from another book I'm finding helpful, "The Whole Body Approach to Osteoporosis" by R Keith McComick.

I drink a whey protein shake with fruit right after I workout. I just use water, fruit and unflavored whey protein.

Nutrition by Vivian Goldschmidt, MA .
The Whey to Bone Health

We have a tremendously smart and educated Save Our Bones community that’s always interested in seeking out the latest research. As it turns out, some members wrote in about lactoferrin just as I was in the process of researching the latest findings to share with you. I love that kind of synchronicity!
So what is lactoferrin and why should you consider including it in your bone health regimen?

The Scoop on Lactoferrin
Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein (a glycoprotein is a molecule that contains both carbohydrate and protein). One of its actions is to help  transport iron from the blood to the cells, thus controlling the iron levels in the blood.
It is most abundant in human colostrum (the milk produced just prior to giving birth) and in slightly lesser amounts in human breast milk. Other than human breast milk, the best source of lactoferrin is in cows’ milk. 1

How Does Lactoferrin Help Bone Health?
Lactoferrin is rapidly emerging as a natural bone building factor. A recent study by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that:
“At physiological concentrations, lactoferrin potently stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of primary osteoblasts and also acts as a survival factor inhibiting apoptosis induced by serum withdrawal. Lactoferrin also affects osteoclast formation and, in murine bone marrow culture, lactoferrin potently inhibits osteoclastogenesis. In vivo, local injection of lactoferrin above the hemicalvaria of adult mice results in substantial increases in the dynamic histomorphometric indices of bone formation and bone area.”
In other words, unlike bisphosphonate drugs, lactoferrin affects bone resorption and deposition in a natural way that works with bone metabolism rather than against it.

The Importance of Bone Remodeling
As I write in the Save Our Bones Program, the bone remodeling process is of prime importance. During this process, bone cells called osteoclasts move through bone tissue with the purpose of capturing old bone for its removal. Once this happens, small serrated spaces are left behind so that bone cells called osteoblasts can deposit new bone. This is how old bone is replaced with brand new bone, thus increasing tensile strength to prevent fractures. About 5 to 10% of all our bone tissue is replaced – or turned over -during one year.
For a lighthearted educational view of the bone remodeling process, check out my blog post starring Oscar the Osteoclast, “How Your Bones Renew Themselves: An Inside Look.”
I often mention the problems with the bisphophonate drugs that are all too commonly prescribed for osteoporosis and osteopenia. Not only do these drugs have potentially devastating side effects, they don’t result in healthier bones!
Bisphosphonates alter the delicate bone remodeling process and thus affect bone chemistry in a way that ultimately results in weaker bones. Lactoferrin, on the other hand, affects these processes in a natural way and shows promise as a means of stimulating healthy bone growth.

Other Benefits of Lactoferrin
Lactoferrin has other desirable health properties. It boosts the immune system and protects against viruses, bacteria and other infectious organisms.2 And by inhibiting cytokine mediators that lead to inflammation, lactoferrin also helps reduce inflammation, both in the skin and in the digestive system.3
So, in addition to the bone health benefits, there are good reasons to add lactoferrin to your routine.

But I Thought You Said Not to Drink Milk
Indeed I did, and you can read all the reasons in ‘Debunking the Milk Myth: Why Milk is Bad for Your Bones’. But I have also said that whey, the watery substance that is left after milk is curdled, is alkalizing and healthy.
Milk has two main sources of protein: cassein and whey, and it’s the alkalizing whey that contains lactoferrin. So you don’t need to drink milk in order to get the benefits of lactoferrin.
In fact, the best  way to get lactoferrin is by drinking a whey protein shake with almond milk, another milk substitute, or even water. 

Whey Protein: An Issue of Purity
Some whey proteins have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals. That’s why the one I use is Solgar’s Whey to Go. It’s been certified clear of any heavy metals and other contaminants by Consumer Reports.4
My daily whey protein shake is one of my favorite pick-me-ups, and I look forward to its refreshing and invigorating boost. I especially enjoy it after exercising or after my walks.
Of course, Whey to Go is free of bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and is minimally processed at low temperatures to protect all the valuable nutrients. It’s available in three delicious natural flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. I always buy vanilla as it has the least amount of sugar, but they’re all acceptable so choose your favorite!
This is where I get it:
Solgar Whey To Go® Whey Protein Powder Natural Vanilla
And to make preparation even more hassle-free, I use the ingenious BlenderBottle to quickly blend it with almond milk or water. The bottle comes with a whisk inside, so all you have to do is shake it and it blends without clumping. It’s BPA-free (you can read my post about BPA here) and even comes in a variety of colors:
The BlenderBottle
Here’s to our healthy bones!

1 Sánchez L, Calvo M, Brock JH (1992). “Biological role of lactoferrin”. Arch. Dis. Child. 67 (5): 657–61.) 
2 Adamik, B and Walszczyk, A. (1996): [Lactoferrin: its role in defence against infection and immunotropic properties.] Postepy Higieny Medycyny Doswiadczalnej 50:33-41.
3 Bellamy, W., Yamauchi, K., Wakabayashi, H., Takakura, N., Shimamura, S. and Tomita, M (1994) Antifungal properties of lactoferricin B, a peptide derived from the N-terminal region of lactoferrin. Letters Appl. Microbiol. 18:230-233.
4 n-your-protein-drink/index.htm):
If you liked this article, click the "Like" button for Facebook:

Pasted from <>

Report post

10 replies. Join the discussion

I really have a problem with this dogmatic approach. We have evolved to the stage when we are not supposed to eat, but just robocally thrown into us this or that fashionable today extract. And of course studies that milk is beneficial don't exist. Sure.

Report post

I make a smoothie each morning (modified verion of Travis Stork belly busting smoothie):

1/2 c almond milk, 1/2 c any berry, 1/2 c yogurt, scoop whey protein, scoop powder calcium, 1 tsp peanut butter, 4 ice cubes, banana

Put in blender. Fast and easy, tastes good too. I started it as a diet and modified it to get more calcium. GIves me a lot of energy too !

Report post

Thank you for all that research. Sounds very promising.

Report post

I was told by Raye, the bone architect, that we'd need a truckload of whey to get the lactoferrin... So just buy the Lactoferrin!

Report post

@Spunky: I think maybe I said you need a truckload of milk to get 250 mg of lactoferrin. (Although maybe I said whey powder... I can't remember anything anymore...)

It does seem as truckload may be necessary for whey powder, though. It's hard to tell because many of the nutritional labels don't break it down for you and tell you exactly how much lactoferrin is in a scoop of whey powder. But the few labels I could find that do break that down say 50 mg of lactoferrin. So you could have five whey powder shakes per day (or put in three scoops of powder per drink and have two drinks per day) to get roughly same amount you'd get in a supplement.

If the whey powder doesn't taste chalky at that amount of scoop-age, and if you like drinking your smoothies (I do), then the powder could feasibly work just as well.

But if you don't have time to be blending twice a day (I don't), you could do the supplement. Whatever works for you. There is more than one way to milk a lactoferrin-filled-cow. :)


Report post

Thanks, Raye. I don't bother my pretty little head with the technicalities. I just do as I'm told. You said Lactoferrin would be good for our bones, so I bought it. I'm a pretty good little student, aren't I? :)

Report post

I've read research to the point that adding 20 grams of protein to the diet of elderly bone loss patients does improve their bone building. Since the whey protein is available and low in phosphorous, it seems like two scoops a day in some drink or as a fourth meal or as an after exercise booster would be a good plan to follow. While the lactoferrin is a plus, protein is also required for the 10% of bone that is connective tissue.

Report post

Thought this might give some insight on how much Protein we need from Susan Brown.

Protein and bone health: a paradox unraveled
by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

How much protein is good for bone? Although it may seem simplistic, the answer appears to be, just the right amount — not too much and not too little.


Report post

I also get Vivian Goldschmidt news emails.
I have noticed lately when someone on Inspire starts a new thread about something new to us about Osteoporosis, she all of a sudden has it in her news emails, that she has been investigating about the same subject.
I find it very Odd!
That said, maybe Vivian then starts to roam through the internet and can save us from that task, and trying to find the
all answers lol..She can put it together for us!!
We do need all the help that we can get.
Although she is trying to sell her books on 80% Alkaline , 20% Acid diet.

Just a thought!


Report post

There is also some 1994 research in humans, and a variety of research in animals to the effect that the amino acid L-Arginine and L-Lysine are important to bone building and can seriously strengthen weak bones. This is in part due to the effect Arginine has in creating nitric oxide in the body and that arginine is essential for creating connective tissue. The bones are about 10% connective tissue.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support NOF

Help the National Osteoporosis Foundation reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the National Osteoporosis Foundation

Learn more about osteoporosis awareness and prevention

Discussion topics

Links and resources from NOF

Community leaders


The National Osteoporosis Foundation would like to remind visitors and community members that the views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of NOF. Please consult your personal healthcare provider regarding any medical information that is shared on this site.