Lactoferrin supplement potential respiratory tract infection treatment


The antiviral properties of lactoferrin makes it a great natural supplement that could also be used as an adjunct for respiratory tract infections (RTIs), according to a team of researchers from the University of Huddersfield in a new study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.

Lactoferrin is a protein naturally found in breastmilk, but is also found in fluids in the eye, nose, respiratory tract, intestine, and elsewhere. The benefits are well documented however, it wasn’t known if taking the molecule as a supplement would have the same beneficial value, the researchers said.

For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis carried out on multiple independent lactoferrin clinical trials. The study found that the administration of Lactoferrin shows promising efficacy in reducing the risk of RTIs, which is proven to be a key ingredient for our natural defense systems against invading viruses. 

Lactoferrin is prepared by specialized dairy companies who make milk, infant formulas, or milk-based products who isolate this biomolecule from the milk and various other companies then procure it to sell as a supplement. However, many low-cost lactoferrin supplements being sold online are not high quality because production of the nutritional supplement is not held to the same strict regulatory process as medicines. 

The natural form of lactoferrin isolated from the milk by a specialized filtration process have superior biological properties than the most lactoferrin products that are chemically processed and treated. Moreover, supplements available in the form of orodispersible tablets, dissolved slowly in the mouth, are superior to commonly available lactoferrin products that are meant to be swallowed with water. The buccal tablets not only increase the mucosal concentration of lactoferrin, but also helps with its absorption and avoids its deterioration by the stomach acid, the researchers said.

The antiviral property of lactoferrin makes it a great supplement for use as an adjunct for respiratory infections, the researchers said, but these are still preliminary findings and warrants further evidence from a large, well-designed randomized controlled trial.