Nutritional roles of lactoferrin

Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Until relatively recently, the only significant source of lactoferrin in the diet was human lactoferrin, provided in breast milk. Today, however, bovine lactoferrin, isolated by dairy technology, as well as recombinant human lactoferrin are commercially available and can be added to foods and clinical products with perceived benefits to the consumer. In this review, the potential biological functions of dietary lactoferrin are described and critically examined. RECENT FINDINGS: Ingested lactoferrin has been suggested to exert antibacterial and antiviral activities in the intestine, in part through a direct effect on pathogens, but possibly also affecting mucosal immune function. The latter function is most likely mediated by lactoferrin being taken up by cells via a unique receptor-mediated pathway and affecting gene transcription. Lactoferrin has also been shown to enhance iron status of infants and pregnant women, possibly also via the receptor-mediated pathway. In addition, lactoferrin can stimulate intestinal cell proliferation and differentiation, causing expansion of tissue mass and absorptive capacity. On the contrary, lactoferrin has been shown to inhibit carcinogenesis. Recent findings also suggest that oral lactoferrin treatment may have an anti-inflammatory effect on pregnant women, reducing pregnancy complications. SUMMARY: Lactoferrin treatment may have beneficial preventive and therapeutic effects on infection, inflammation, and cancer as well as enhancing iron status and growth in vulnerable groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Fingerprint

Lactoferrin
Pregnant Women
Iron
Tissue Expansion
Pregnancy Complications
Therapeutic Uses
Human Milk
Intestines
Antiviral Agents
Cell Differentiation
Carcinogenesis
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Cell Proliferation

Keywords

  • Immune function
  • Infection
  • Lactoferrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Nutritional roles of lactoferrin. / Lönnerdal, Bo.

In: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, Vol. 12, No. 3, 05.2009, p. 293-297.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lönnerdal, Bo. / Nutritional roles of lactoferrin. In: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 2009 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 293-297.
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