The word ‘lactoferrin’ (‘lacto’ – means milk; ‘ferrin’ – means iron) denotes an iron-binding compound present in milk. However, lactoferrin is known to bind several other metals including copper, zinc, manganese, and vanadium. Lactoferrin is a 75 to 80-kDa metal-binding glycoprotein that is normally synthesized inside all mammals, including humans. It is a single-gene product (“bio-replenishment”) that is essential for life. Lactoferrin is present in sperm, amniotic/ seminal/ cerebrospinal/ gastric fluids, saliva, tears, vaginal secretions and other body fluids that bathe mucosal surfaces; as well as in the white blood cells (neutrophils) and is localized in several tissues.
Each lactoferrin protein molecule has a capacity to avidly bind two atoms of iron (and other metals) in a reversible manner. Based on its iron-binding status, lactoferrin molecule could exist in either ‘apo’ (iron-free) or ‘holo’ (iron-saturated) forms. lactoferrin molecule could also exist (in a very low proportion), as a partially iron-saturated form, i.e. a single atom of iron bound to each molecule. All the three lactoferrin forms are inter-convertible.
The primary function of lactoferrin is to provide total body protection (innate host defense) and to maintain a healthy physiology (regularity). Lactoferrin is considered a multi-functional protein with a role in several important physiological pathways.
Due its numerous health benefits, lactoferrin is widely used as an active ingredient in infant formulae (especially South-East Asian countries), food safety, diagnostics, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements for human and veterinary markets.
Lactoferrin is considered safe and is an accepted health ingredient by various government/ regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (JMHLW) and many more.
With external stresses and natural aging, levels of bioactive compounds (like lactoferrin) and essential nutrients decline and it becomes important to replenish the body’s reserves. This helps to keep the body healthy and energized. Simply gathering “helpful” ingredients and throwing them into a capsule is not enough - most bioactive compounds have multi-functional properties and must be extracted, isolated and activated in order to optimally perform their desired function.
As demand for lactoferrin increases, need for efficient and effective lactoferrin procurement becomes a key. Lactoferrin is largely harvested from cow milk; however, different protein isolation techniques, as well as quality of the raw material result in variance in lactoferrin biological activity. Nonetheless, global production of lactoferrin is currently estimated at 1,000 metric tons/year, and this figure is continuously growing. Recent advances in lactoferrin research elucidate structure-function relationships, anti-microbial/ anti-inflammatory/ anti-oxidant/ immuno-modulatory properties and cost-effective systems for large-scale protein isolation; which has opened up unlimited opportunities for this bio-replenishment to be used in health industry.
Dr. Naidu and his team have pioneered the field of lactoferrin research over the past 30+ years. He leads an international team of scientists and medical specialists in identifying, developing, and providing public access to the unique health benefits of lactoferrin and other bioactive molecules.
His groundbreaking discoveries have laid foundation for the development of novel lactoferrin-based nutraceuticals, therapeutics and healthcare technologies that have positively impacted healthcare globally. The purification and isolation process used for the milk lactoferrin in Lactoferrin Gold 1.8® is so innovative that it has earned the protection of two U.S. patents.