I have not heard anyone here taking this. I think it's an important supp, so thought I'd post info:
Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein produced in animals during lactation. It is a prominent component in the first line of mammalian host defense. Lactoferrin is a member of the transferrin family of non-heme iron binding proteins, which include transferrin, an iron transporting protein in blood, ovotransferrin the egg-white protein and melanotransferrin, the melanocyte (pigment producing) protein.
Lactoferrin has received considerable attention from researchers with good cause. In addition to acting as an antioxidant and a chelator, it inhibits phase I enzymes and enhances phase II enzymes. It exhibits powerful immunomodulating functions. It has been found to raise levels of natural killer (NK) cells 12 and inhibit the production of several cytokines including tumor necrosis factor a (TNF- a) and interleukin-1B (IL-1B). It is also an anti-inflammatory 10, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal 8. Lactoferrin has displayed inhibitory activity against a number of cancers. One study found “lactoferrin (bLF) has been found to significantly inhibit colon, esophagus, lung, and bladder carcinogenesis in rats 7.”
An essay by Australian researchers concluded that “lactoferrin acts by induction of apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis, modulation of carcinogen metabolising enzymes and perhaps acting as an iron scavenger 4.”
Animal studies as well as a number of clinical trials have demonstrated that lactoferrin inhibits and helps prevent the incidence of esophageal, lung, bladder, colon, pancreatic, and breast cancers.
Rats treated with a carcinogen and supplemented with 2% bovine lactoferrin for 36 weeks had a reduced incidence of colon cancer and a 43% reduction in lung metastasis. A study treating head and neck cancer with human recombinant lactoferrin found that it inhibited growth “via direct cellular inhibition as well as systemically via immunomodulation 9.” Lactoferrin has also been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol 5, 6.
Whey is available as a formulation called “non-denatured” or “biologically active,” which uses a low temperature technique in processing that maintains whey’s antioxidant integrity. Non-denatured whey is usually rBGH free. However, non-denatured whey costs up to four times as much as whey that does not use low temperature technology. Products that are not non-denatured may not provide the cysteine/glutathione benefit, but they will contain lactoferrin, as it is stable enough to withstand high-temperature processing. Finding reasonably priced whey that does not contain rBGH or soy is a challenge, however. The best option I have found is Whey Factors by Natural Factors. It is a non-denatured, hormone free formula priced lower than comparable brands.
Lactoferrin is also available in supplement form. A therapeutic dose begins at around 300 mg/day. Twenty grams of whey protein provides only about 100mg of lactoferrin, so a supplement is a good idea. When choosing a lactoferrin supplement look for “apolactoferrin,” which is depleted of iron and has shown superior efficacy to other forms on the market.
Researchers have found that the lactoferrin milk proteins in human mothers’ milk contain cancer-fighting properties that are not present in other animal milk products. These proteins include lactoferrin alpha and multimeric alpha-lactalbumin. Lactoferrin alpha is distinct from the bovine variety and has been found to be a more effective cancer-fighting protein 13. A Texas company, Agennix, has found a way to manufacture a recombinant lactoferrin-alpha from fungus. It has been given fast-track status by the FDA after trials on lung cancer patients showed positive results 13.
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13. Oral Talactoferrin Alfa Improves Overall Survival in Patients With Refractory Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Final Phase 2 Study Results Presented at the 8th Annual Targeted Therapies for the Treatment Of Lung Cancer Meeting, Santa Monica, CA., February 26, 2008 /PRNewswire