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Lactoferrin: A Super-ingredient to Support Immunity and Overall Wellbeing


  • Inner Wellbeing
  • Article
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Immunity

Lactoferrin: The Super-Ingredient for Immunity and Wellbeing | Nutiani

Lactoferrin: The Super-Ingredient for Immunity and Wellbeing | Nutiani

Concept Card: Lactoferrin Supplement Capsules

The link between diet and immunity is becoming an increasing focus for consumers, who are seeking help from superfoods and ingredients to help keep them fighting fit.

According to the IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research, immunity is one of the top three aspects of wellbeing prioritised by consumers, with 50% looking to nutrition to help them strengthen their immunity¹.

Our immune system often acts as the body’s first line of defence in fighting infection². The importance placed on immunity was already growing prior to the pandemic as the idea that prevention is better than cure gained traction.  As the world moved into an era marked by Covid-19, more people began to seek out products that support immune health.

Lactoferrin as an immunity ‘super-ingredient’

Lactoferrin is one of the latest ingredients in the spotlight of consumer health and wellbeing, joining a long line up of proteins, vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in dairy products. It is increasingly being viewed as an immunity ‘super-ingredient’, reported to be active against some viruses, bacteria and fungi³ ⁴.

Lactoferrin is a naturally occurring, iron-binding glycoprotein that is produced by the human body. Those derived from bovine milk have a very similar structure to the equivalent human protein.

It acts as one of the body’s whistle-blowers. When a pathogen enters the body, lactoferrin can activate the immune system via cytokine-like signals, prompting the release of antibodies. It has also been found to play an important role in modulating inflammation⁵, which can sometimes occur during an immune response. Lactoferrin achieves this by competing with a molecule called IL-8 that is involved in immune cell activation³.

As well as joining the body’s wall of defence, lactoferrin plays an active role in the attack of pathogens. It inhibits the binding of viruses to certain receptors of human host cells (such as the ACE-II receptor) and deprives them of nutrients needed for growth, like iron³.

Mobility wheel

A strong immune system is critical for maintaining an active lifestyle and weakened immunity can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Not only does lactoferrin support immune health and overall wellbeing in this way, but it also promotes iron absorption, which is important for cognitive development and function, energy production and reducing fatigue.

With its range of scientifically-proven benefits, brands have been incorporating lactoferrin into their products to deliver added benefits for consumers. 

Researchers are continuing to study Lactoferrin to better understand its properties. More clinical proof is needed to determine if it can be considered a treatment or preventative measure against a specific disease or health concern. Nutiani’s team of subject matter experts will continuously monitor the latest lactoferrin research and provide customers with updates and access to science-backed insights to inform the development of new immunity-focused solutions.



1. IPSOS Nutiani, Consumer Wellness Research (May 2021).

2. Dutta, S. S. (March 2021). What are the Three Lines of Defense. News Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-the-Three-Lines-of-Defense.aspx.

3. Orsi, N. (2004). The antimicrobial activity of lactoferrin: current status and perspectives. Biometals, 17(3), 189-196.

4. Rao, A. G. (1995). Antimicrobial peptides. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact, 8(6), 13.

5. Ellison, R. 3., Giehl, T. J., & LaForce, F. M. (1988). Damage of the outer membrane of enteric gram-negative bacteria by lactoferrin and transferrin. Infection and immunity, 56(11), 2774-2781.


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