The Stunning Immune Power of Lactoferrin

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
The Stunning Immune Power of Lactoferrin
Lactoferrin is one of the most powerful immune support nutrients known. It is not only vital to your defense against any type of infection; it also helps keep your immune system from overheating with too much inflammation. Lactoferrin is a vital component of breast milk and largely responsible for defending the human race against infection in our most vulnerable members. Bovine lactoferrin is quite similar to human lactoferrin and readily available in colostrum, whey protein, and in a purified form from whey protein. Hundreds of studies show lactoferrin is a potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and parasite killing compound. New information is now showing that lactoferrin is a manager of immune cells, helping to optimize and coordinate their attack on enemies while preventing inappropriate immune system excess. This is a drastic difference from Stone Age medicine that seeks to apply some sort of toxin to a germ to kill it. This is an immune compound with a brain, an active regulator of healthy immunity.

You make lactoferrin throughout life and it is found in virtually all fluids of your body. In a healthy person it is synthesized in adequate amounts by mucosal endothelial cells, i.e., surface areas of your body most likely to come into contact with potential invaders. If an infection takes place then immune cells called neutrophils release large amounts of lactoferrin to help combat the infection and control the inflammation that is a necessary part of an effective immune response.

The old view of immunity was that your front line immune troops and foot soldiers (innate immunity) would attack the invader and then present information about the invader (antigens) to your higher-powered air force (adaptive immunity), at which point advanced weapons would target the specific invader and go in for the kill. While this is still true, it is now known that it is now known that the ground forces must be sustained throughout the campaign and the messengers in the middle (such as dendritic cells) perform a high level of immune system management or the whole process of immunity becomes inefficient.

A new study details how bovine lactoferrin intelligently regulates the communication between innate and adaptive immunity, communicating to various cells of the immune system and telling them how to behave. It especially influences the communication strategy of the dendritic cells, so that an appropriate amount of force is released against the enemy and so that an effective immune response can take place. It is also regulating the dampening of the immune response via the same dendritic cells, so that inappropriate activity that would cause excess inflammation or autoimmune problems does not occur.

Proper synthesis of lactoferrin in humans will be reflected by a good energy level and a lack of ongoing or recurring symptoms on any mucosal surface (sinuses, digestion, lungs, mouth, etc.) Like vitamin D, lactoferrin is a potent immune system regulator.

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