The Lactoferrin Phenomenon ~ A Miracle Molecule found in Mother’s Milk, Supports Immune System & Gastrointestinal Health


The Lactoferrin Phenomenon ~ A Miracle Molecule found in Mother’s Milk, Supports Immune System & Gastrointestinal Health

Consider adding a Lactoferrin supplement to your immunity-boosting regimen.

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss


A quick look at one supplement brand containing Lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin | A protein found in mammal breast milk with antibacterial and antiviral properties.




Lactoferrin promotes probiotic bacterial growth in the intestines, and new research shows it also supports eye health. Lactoferrin is one component of mother's "first milk."




Colostrum awaits every newborn after its birth. It is already produced during pregnancy and supplies the infant with essential nutrients and an abundance of antibodies and antioxidants to build a newborn's immune system.

Colostrum is stored and expelled through the breast as the precursor to breast milk. It has remarkable properties that protect and nourish your baby in its first days.

Colostrum is rich in immunologic components such as secretory IgA, lactoferrin, leukocytes, and developmental factors such as the epidermal growth factor. It also contains low lactose concentrations, indicating its primary functions as immunologic and fortifying rather than nutritional. 


Which components make colostrum essential for child development? All the above, yet the focus here is on lactoferrin (LF).


What is Lactoferrin?

Lactoferrin is primarily found in milk, tears, nasal fluids, saliva, and secretions from gastrointestinal and reproductive tissues. It is also found in blood plasma and immune cells such as neutrophils and macrophages, and it helps facilitate immune responses against pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses.

A natural, versatile substance found in human colostrum, lactoferrin plays a vital role in a healthy immune response. This multi-functional protein in mother's "first milk" has the highest concentration, followed by human and cow's milk. In fact, lactoferrin is found throughout the human body. 

You can purchase Gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegetarian formulations in capsule form from well-known retailers for under $40. Supplementing with lactoferrin ostensibly supports a strong, healthy immune response.



Are These Claims Accurate?

Lactoferrin is essential in many other ways as well. It is a factor that promotes the formation of bone (osteogenesis) and bone health and inhibits the destruction of bone tissue (osteolytic process). 




The Miracle Molecule in Mother's "First Milk"

Supplements brands containing lactoferrin make reasonable claims about their products, although they often do not cite all the ones found below. There are seven of these, with an eighth claim still under study. Brands limit their claims to the ones highlighted in green.


  1. Lactoferrin supports and strengthens a healthy immune system by blocking the direct viral invasion of cells. It activates immune defenses against viruses and boosts the number of natural killer cells.
  2. Promotes gut health.
  3. Promotes probiotic bacterial growth.
  4. Strengthens bones and promotes the proliferation of bone-forming cells known as osteoblasts.
  5. Regulates iron absorption.
  6. Supports eye health.
  7. Acts as a wound-healing agent.
  8. Promotes cellular regeneration - helps the body heal and repair itself. *


Lactoferrin * has direct properties of regeneration and repair. It can bind and interact with DNA to protect genetic material against damage. Two, lactoferrin promotes healthy cell division. And three, it spurs the differentiation of stem cells (when stem cells mature and develop into specialized cell types).

Together, these actions may help the body repair itself and even reverse some of the damage that comes with aging.




From Bones to Immune System Protection

Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein that is present in human, cow, and in abundance in mammalian milk. It is present in many other parts of the human body like the intestine and respiratory tract, and it is also available as a medication in the form of lactoferrin capsules.

As a glycoprotein, lactoferrin is a cell-secreted mediator acting as a conduit for mammals' innate and adaptive immune function. It is a molecule that directly assists in developing T-helper cell polarization.

Helper T cells are the most critical cells in adaptive immunity and are required for almost all adaptive immune responses. They help activate B cells to secrete antibodies and macrophages to destroy ingested microbes and help activate cytotoxic T cells to kill infected target cells.

Polarization of immune cells is observed in host responses associated with microbial immunity, inflammation, tumorigenesis, and tissue repair and fibrosis. In this process, immune cells adopt distinct programs and perform specialized functions in response to specific signals.

Lactoferrin has a lot of health benefits. In addition to promoting gut health and eye health, lactoferrin can bind with iron and interact with various molecular and cellular responses.


Science is always searching for critically relevant prophylactic and therapeutic interventions in humans aimed at immune homeostasis as a referee of immune responses to infectious assault, trauma, and injury. 



Can adding lactoferrin as a nutritional supplement support overall immune health? Some studies suggest it can.




Product Introduction | Ecological Formulas

Author's Notes 

Ecological Formulas, a supplement brand company in Concord, California, makes one Lactoferrin supplement I appreciate but will not yet endorse. The main reason is that I still need to check it out thoroughly.

I undergo a lengthy testing process when considering a new supplement. First, I must be interested in it, and seeing that I wanted to write this article, that became my initial motivation. Mostly, I am interested in Lactoferrin for its help with immune system support.

This supplement is good for many reasons: the dose, the cost, the number of capsules in the bottle, how long 60 capsules will last, the formulation - and lastly, the brand overall. As I don’t know this brand intimately, this is how I get to know it. And I do test it on my own body.

Lactoferrin interests me due to its collection of benefits:


It promotes gut health, promotes probiotic bacterial growth, strengthens bones, and promotes the proliferation of bone-forming cells known as osteoblasts, its ability to regulate iron absorption, and how it can support eye health.


Many brands sell Lactoferrin in supplement form and dosages from 100 to 300mg, and one brand I surveyed runs as high as $60 per bottle.



Ecological Formulas’ Lactoferrin is where I started as each capsule contains only 100mg, the price is under $24, and the bottle of 60 capsules will last for two months as the daily serving is one capsule.

The EF brand describes its Lactoferrin in this way: 


“Lactoferrin Bioactive Glycoprotein from Ecological Formulas is a purified derivative of whey protein that has important iron-binding properties in human nutrition.”  


Another consideration is that this formulation contains only Lactoferrin which is a good starting point. I like to take a new supplement as recommended and watch how my body reacts and hopefully benefits from it. I would never start with a brand asking me to take two 300mg capsules daily.

Again, this is my approach, and other people may have theirs. My body is susceptible, and I can immediately tell how it’s making me feel. Without any formal recommendation, Ecological Formulas Lactoferrin is where I would start getting to know Lactoferrin and how it might benefit my health.

Hopefully, this article will help you form your approach, and this brand is a good one to try if you are interested in Lactoferrin. 




Today people are increasingly aware of how healthy their immune system is, and they seek products with strong scientific validation.

Immune responses are designed to interact with the environment to protect you against pathogenic invaders, conferring a state of health through elimination of infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

By suppressing microbial growth, LF has a significant impact on immune responses.

Moreover, LF may protect against oxidative stress, which is related to its ability to bind iron, known to have oxidative properties in large amounts.

By sequestering iron, LF can reduce the insults of oxidative stress, altering the magnitude and production of cytokines. Many studies have indicated LF’s effectiveness in reducing the level of cytotoxins H2O2 and increasing FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) both in the intra- and extracellular space.






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