What is Lactoferrin ?
Besides the major fractions mentioned previously (Beta & Alpha Lactalbumin, BSA, Ig) contained with whey’s macro-nutrient protein, there are a few fractions that are considered “minor” as they are found in a much lower concentration. For more Information on Protein Fractions: What are Whey Protein Fractions (Major & Minor)?
Where does Lactoferrin come from ?
Lactoferrin is found in highest amounts in colostrum, the first type of breast milk produced after a baby is born, it is loaded with immune system boosters and benefits. Particularly critical for newborn babies and calves where Lactoferrin serves as their primary protector against bacterial infections. Lactoferrin can be found in almost all bodily fluids, including -
- Tears 0.4-1.2 mg/ml
- Saliva 5-10 ug/ml
- Blood 0.28 ug/ml
- Amniotic fluid 2-32 ug/ml
Note: “Colostrum” can also be used as a supplement – it’s extremely rich in antibodies in the form of immunoglobulins which have been proven to stimulate the immune system and often used to naturally enhance athletic performance across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
Is there Lactoferrin in Grassfed Whey Protein ?
Of these minor fractions, Lactoferrin is fantastically powerful and we at AGN Roots highly recommend supplementing lactoferrin as part of your daily regime. In the world of protein, lactoferrin is commonly known as the “super protein” for its immune system & digestive benefits. Concentrations of lactoferrin vary in bovine milk and thus whey protein. Within the whey protein community, like all protein fractions to benefit from, the highest concentrations of this minor protein fraction is found in cows who feed on organic matter (i.e. Grassfed Whey). As a standalone product, Lactoferrin is an extremely lean protein weighing in at > 95% protein by weight.
In AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey across all batches on average there exists between 1.1 - 1.7% Lactoferrin by volume. By isolating whey protein from the water, fats, and sugars of milk, it becomes clear that ONLY .6% of the milk is actually whey protein. With this fact, it's much easier to understand why whey protein isolate would contain a much greater concentration of lactoferrin than compared to a glass of grassfed whole milk. A Grassfed Whey Protein Powder serving contains much more protein (25 grams protein) than a typical glass of milk.
Does the Body Naturally Produce Lactoferrin ?
In the world of “essential vs non-essential” just like Amino Acids, Lactoferrin is considered “non-essential” as our bodies do produce it naturally. With age however, unlike the aches and pains from living a full life, Lactoferrin production decreases making supplementation highly recommended. One of the best sources of natural lactoferrin is Grassfed Whey Protein.
Is there Lactoferrin in Whey Protein Isolate ?
Although many brands selling whey protein concentrate love to market the benefits of whey containing 20% by volume lactose & fats under the premise that, “all the best nutrients are stored in the fats and carbohydrates”. Well, this just isn’t the case. The reality is, minor protein fractions associated with whey exist within the whey protein macro itself. If comparing a whey protein concentrate powder with a whey protein isolate powder, gram for gram the isolate will contain greater quantities of lactoferrin.
Does Lactoferrin Enhance Athletic Performance?
Competitive athletes are always looking for gaps to fill with the right nutrition. Assuming the big things like rest, diet, and training regime are done well, next in line to elevate your performance will fall in the category of fine-tuning nutrition. Lactoferrin supplementation is a great place to start; through various studies has shown to be beneficial, expressing supportive effects in several areas often marketed as the following:
Antimicrobial – Supports Gut Health, used in caring for wounds & Oral Hygiene
Immune Modulation – Serves as an Anti-inflammatory Immune Booster and is used in the Skin Care industry
Bone Growth – Supports General Bone Health assisting in the fight against Osteoporosis
Endotoxin Binding – Helps combat impacts of a “western” diet high in fat potentially resulting in Diabetes and or Obesity
Iron Source – Fighting negative impacts of Anemia
Prebiotic – Supports Gut health and Serves as Immunity Booster
Grassfed Whey’s Natural Antimicrobial Immune System Benefits -
Since lactoferrin binds iron, it can help keep iron away from iron-dependent pathogenic bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria must acquire iron within their vertebrate hosts in order to replicate and will take it from wherever they find it, including from heme Non-saturated lactoferrin will also strongly bind iron, creating an iron-deficient environment that discourages bacterial growth. When is comes to respitorial virus like COVID19, preventing biofilm building on mucus membranes by pathogenic bacteria can be beneficial. Lactoferrin helps prevent the pathogens from sticking to surfaces and can thus limit their colonization, especially on mucosal surfaces (intestinal lining, lungs, etc) . The airway infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients is a chief example of a biofilm infection. By limiting adhesion, lactoferrin help minimize the potential of a bacterial infection.
Note: “Gram-negative Bacteria” – Refers specifically to bacteria that do not retain the crystal violet stain used in the Gram Staining Method of bacterial differentiation. These bacteria include but not limited to Escherichia coli (E. Coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Yersinia pestis.
Damage from Over Training -
There is a direct connection of lactoferrin supporting innate immune health & also restoring iron levels; both benefits are connected, and both required for efficient recovery after intense sessions of strenuous over training. For long distance running like other sports where the failure mechanism is around endurance, studies have shown that supplementation with lactoferrin does help support healthy iron levels and red blood cell efficacy.
Micronutrient Loss (Gastrointestinal Issues) –
Lactoferrin has shown to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract due to its ability to rebalance iron to optimal levels. When it comes to showing the signs of aging, too much iron can serve as a catalyst or contributor to the aging process.
Immune Health Benefits of Lactoferrin -
Lactoferrin is known to increase anti-inflammatory factors in the body (IL-10, NK cells), while reducing pro-inflammatory factors (IL-1, IL-6, TNF-a). Lactoferrin is an immune system adaptogen, as an immune system regulator it will help prevent overstimulation as well as under stimulation.
Lactoferrin is found in highest amounts in colostrum, the first type of breast milk produced after a baby is born, it is loaded with immune system boosters and benefits. Particularly critical for newborn babies and calves where Lactoferrin serves as their primary protector against bacterial infections.
Colostrum can also be used as a supplement – it’s extremely rich in antibodies in the form of immunoglobulins which have been proven to stimulate the immune system and often used to naturally enhance athletic performance across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
Is Lactoferrin Beneficial for Women ?
When it comes to gender and who is more inclined to dealing with issues related to iron deficiencies, the clamor of scientific dispute has abated as the empirical evidence overwhelmingly shows that in general, women are indeed the most vulnerable. Yes, Lactoferrin is a great supplement to increase the body’s natural ability to absorb iron which in many cases can be beneficial for women and men who struggle absorbing adequate quantities.
Will Lactoferrin in Grassfed Whey Upset my Stomach ?
One of the benefits of Lactoferrin and truly grassfed whey protein is the ease of digestion. As many of us may have experienced iron supplementation and the aftermath of discomfort experienced by the stomach, we are pleased to share an alternative solution in the name of lactoferrin that is much gentler on the gut. Compared to ferrous sulfate, Lactoferrin can significantly impact gut health by reducing constipation and epigastric associated pains. In general, Lactoferrin is a more pleasant on the stomach for treating iron deficiencies than other more traditional treatments.
Does Lactoferrin help with Anemia ?
As an iron binding globular glycoprotein lactoferrin helps regulate the absorption of iron in the intestine and thus helps the delivery of iron to the cells, this process is critical if you suffer from anemia. As far as sports nutrition and benefits, Lactoferrin is a highly sought-after supplement for endurance athletes who depend on efficient oxygenation.
Is Weight Loss a benefit of Lactoferrin in Grassfed Whey Protein ?
Of the numerous studies around the benefits of supplementing with lactoferrin, the results showed a relationship between LF supplementation and reductions in body fat, particularly visceral body fat. In addition to significant visceral fat reduction, other findings include, reductions in body weight, BMI (Body mass Index), and a reduction in hip circumference. Like all studies, variance exists along with statistical outliers, however with lactoferrin supplementation especially if the source is AGN Roots Grassfed whey, the benefits serve as a net positive!