Lactoferrin is a protein found naturally in the milk of humans, cows, and other mammals. It is also found in other bodily fluids like saliva, tears, mucus, and bile.Lactoferrin has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and helps the body transport and absorb iron.

In humans, the highest concentrations of lactoferrin can be found in colostrum, which is a very nutrient-dense first form of breastmilk produced soon after a baby is born. Babies can get plenty of lactoferrin from breastmilk, while food sources are available for adults.

Some people take lactoferrin supplements for their purported antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Though the lactoferrin used in supplements is typically sourced from genetically modified rice, it can also come from cow’s milk.

Biological function

Lactoferrin is considered a key component of the innate defense system because it responds to various physiological and environmental changes.Lactoferrin has strong antibacterial activity against various bacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses and parasites.It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities and has a variety of enzyme functions.Lactoferrin plays a key role in maintaining iron levels in cells in vivo

1)enhance immunity: lactoferrin is a kind of active protein, can promote nutrient digestion and absorption, and can improve the body’s resistance and immunity, so that the body from infection.  Lactoferrin can also promote the development of the gastrointestinal tract, to help the normal growth and development of the baby, to prevent its disease infestation.

2)Antiviral: lactoferrin has strong resistance to herpes simplex virus, Hantavirus, human immune deficiency virus and so on, effectively preventing virus accumulation and reproduction in the body.  It can also block the entry of virions into target cells and repel the same lipoproteins as virions.

3)Anti-cancer: lactoferrin will react with iron to produce thiobarbituric acid and malondialdehyde.  These substances have strong antioxidant properties, which help prevent malignant cell degeneration, prevent diseases such as colon and liver cancer, and prevent the spread of cancer cells in the body.


Lactoferrin is widely used in cosmetic, food, animal production and medical field. It can be used as antioxidant, immune promoter, iron supplement and drug carrier.

1)cosmetics:Lactoferrin is a natural substance in human body. It has extensive antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, inhibiting melanin and promoting collagen formation.In the development of whitening cosmetics, the raw material has a certain stability in the processing, and lactoferrin has a very high stability, which can be used as raw material to make whitening agent.

2)Food industry:There are a wide range of products on the market that contain lactoferrin, including yogurt, skim milk, health foods and fermented dairy products
Lactoferrin has many advantages in infant formula, including promoting iron absorption and improving intestinal flora

3)Animal production:When lactoferrin is added to sows feed, sows can obtain a lot of endogenous lactoferrin, which can reduce the probability of iron deficiency anemia, improve the immunity and promote the growth of piglets.Lactoferrin in piglets diet can improve intestinal microbial flora, prevent intestinal diarrhea and enhance intestinal absorption of nutrients.Feeds containing lactoferrin can prevent oxidative decomposition and enhance the nutritional composition of the feed

4)Body action:Lactoferrin not only regulate the body of iron metabolism, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to the organism also has an important role

The lactoferrin receptor is found on the surface of cell membranes and has a molecular weight of about 105 kDa,lactoferrin binds to bacterial cell surface receptors and can activate intracellular signaling pathways or enter the nucleus through endocytosis to participate in immune and bacteriostatic functions

Author: Hanna