Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Is Lactoferrin?

By:  Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD. Many of you have been asking me "What is lactoferrin and why did Shaklee add it to Incredivites, their new Children's multivitamin?
Simply put, lactoferrin is an iron-containing protein found in mother's milk that is very important in developing and strengthening the infant's immune system.

Let's look at the science behind lactoferrin and why it strengthens the immune system:

1) Iron is an absolutely essential nutrient for your child's immune system. In fact, a weakened immune system is one of the first signs of an iron deficiency.  It turns out that lactoferrin is an easily absorbed form of iron. In fact there is a special transport system in the intestine for lactoferrin. Because the iron in lactoferrin is much more bioavailable than other forms of iron, the lactoferrin in Incredivites assures that your child's immune system gets the iron that it needs to function optimally.

2) Lactoferrin also increases the number of nutrient- absorbing cells in the intestine, so it enhances the absorption of the other nutrients your child needs for a healthy immune system.

3) Finally, lactoferrin suppresses the growth of bad bacteria in your child's intestine. That's important because 80% of your immune system originates in the intestine.  Simply put, when those immune cells in the intestine have to spend their time fighting off bad bacteria in the intestine, they are unavailable to fight off bacteria and viruses elsewhere in the body.

So lactoferrin helps strengthen your kid's immune system in several different ways and Shaklee's Incredivites is the first children's multi to contain this important immune-enhancing ingredient.

The other two questions that I frequently get are:
(Q):If lactoferrin is only found in mother's milk is it really needed by anyone beside infants?

(A): Lactoferrin is, indeed, very important in helping infants develop a healthy immune system. I suppose in an ideal world once the immune system was developed we wouldn't have to worry about it again.

But we don't live in an ideal world. We live in a world of Happy Meals, french fries & soft drinks. We live in a world of artificially colored, flavored & preserved snack foods. We live in a world where antibiotics are used at the drop of hat!

Several clinical studies have shown that lactoferrin can play an important role in strengthening the immune systems of children who are no longer breast feeding.

(Q): My child is allergic to milk. Can he use a supplement containing lactoferrin?

(A): Most milk allergies are caused by an allergy to whey protein, the most abundant milk protein, or lactose, the most abundant milk sugar.  Lactoferrin, on the other hand, is a very minor component of milk, and it is very unlikely that your child will be allergic to lactoferrin.
However, if your child has a very severe milk allergy, it is always a good idea to check with your pediatrician before giving them any food containing an ingredient derived from milk.

To your health!
Dr. Stephen Chaney, PhD

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