coordinating the human cellular immune response Up-Regulating
First Food for Life
Lactoferrin is a relatively new
supplement that has generated an unusual amount of interest in
the last year and a half due to a number of health articles
touting its application to cancer therapy. This has obviously
provoked an overwhelming amount of excitement that I must try to
deal with as a nutritional consultant. To understand what all
the fuss is about, I'll first describe
what lactoferrin is, what it does, and then explore its
relevance to cancer and other health conditions.
Lactoferrin is a substance belonging to a family of chemicals
called cytokines. Cytokines are responsible for coordinating the
human cellular immune response that protects us from most
infections, cancers and tumors. A deficit of cytokines can lead
to a suppressed immune system and an excess of cytokines can
create an over-active immune response. Lactoferrin works by
regulating the cellular immune response on several different
levels. In healthy individuals lactoferrin is a front-line
defensive system that protects our body openings, such as eyes,
mouth, nose and other orifices from infectious invasion.
A second aspect of lactoferrin is its unique ability to bind to
iron, an essential mineral used by a wide array of pathogens and
tumors for reproduction and growth. Presented with an infectious
challenge or tumor, a healthy body will respond by producing
Lactoferrin in copious quantities in the vicinity of the
infection or tumor.
Lactoferrin will then bind with iron and render it unavailable
to the bacteria or the tumor, provoking a malnutrition situation
and effectively starving the bacteria or the tumor. Lactoferrin
does not remove iron from the body itself, and over time
degrades to release the iron back into the body.
A third and important level of activity is that special sections
of lactoferrin molecules are themselves directly toxic to
bacteria, yeast and molds. It also appears that lactoferrin
inhibits replication of some viruses, including HIV and some of
the herpes family of viruses. So this is quite a remarkable
There is a good deal of research regarding the function of
lactoferrin, as well as research into the levels of lactoferrin
in sick individuals. Lactoferrin first came to prominence as a
result of an excellent paper written by an AIDS researcher
discussing the role of lactoferrin in AIDS. It was this initial
study that really provoked the production of lactoferrin as a
Up-Regulating Immune Function
More recently a widely-read health newsletter article focused on
one amazing case in which lactoferrin was used in the treatment
of mesothelioma, a kind of lung cancer associated with asbestos.
The patient, a friend of the author of the article, was treated
by Dr. Corsello in New York.
The article made it sound as if the patient was simply given
lactoferrin and then got well. Sounds simple, but that isnt
exactly the situation. Its also unfortunate because a number of
people have contacted me in my capacity of technical consultant
seeking information on the lactoferrin cancer treatment, but
lactoferrin is in no sense a cancer treatment at all.
The full story on Corsellos patient was that she was on a full
program of alternative medical intervention, including vitamin C
drips and things of that sort. They werent really getting
particularly good results until they added lactoferrin to the
program. The end result was a fairly complete recovery from a
kind of cancer that is extremely virulent. Now this was quite
wonderful, but I sincerely doubt that lactoferrin by itself
could have provoked as dramatic an outcome as they reported.
The bottom line here is that lactoferrin is a very reasonable
and important component of immuno-therapy. Individuals with
cancer are almost uniformly immuno-suppressed and unfortunately,
conventional cancer therapy doesnt tend to pay much attention to
improving immune function. In fact, most traditional cancer
therapies are immuno-suppressing in their own right.
The importance of lactoferrin and other substances that
up-regulate immune function in this very dangerous disease is
not commonly addressed. One of the chief things I do as a
nutritional consultant is to combine conventional therapy with
immuno-supporting nutritional supplements. By organizing a
comprehensive program around each individuals specific needs,
tailored to their illness and the kind of conventional therapy
they are receiving, the results we have gotten have been very,
Other areas where lactoferrin supplementation may be relevant
are in cases of HIV and chronic viral infections, including
chronic fatigue. Ive used lactoferrin in low doses on
individuals who could not be categorized as suffering from
chronic fatigue or any distinct illness, but were experiencing
low energy and had food allergies. I found that these
individuals seemed to feel a bit better, and have more energy
after taking lactoferrin.
It doesnt take a very large dose of lactoferrin to see results.
Improvement of immune regulation calls for a dosage ranging from
200 to 400 milligrams taken in one dose at bedtime. This is the
most common time to take this for immune regulation purposes and
will not interfere with sleep in any way.
I havent run across doses higher than 1400 milligrams a day
except in cases where a doctor was going after an actual
infection. One interesting example of this was with a patient
suffering from gastritis that was likely caused by h-pylori
bacteria. After a course of treatment with high-dose lactoferrin,
there was a complete clearance of all symptoms.
While we havent seen any problems with taking larger doses, one
animal study using very large doses led to some damage to the
gastro mucosa. In terms of human feed-back, lactoferrin is a
relatively benign substance, though if one takes too much it
could lead to some diarrhea or a drop in energy. Reduce the dose
if this occurs.
Where does lactoferrin come from? Lactoferrin comes from
colostrum which is the first fluid that comes out of the
mother?s breast after a baby is born. For anywhere from a
day-and-a-half to three days, the mother produces a fluid that
is not milk, but a mixture of immunoglobulins and about 15-20%
lactoferrin. Our lactoferrin source is extracted from cows
colostrum, is highly purified and is not allergically reactive
even in individuals who are extremely milk allergic. Where some
individuals may have a reaction to whole colostrum, lactoferrin
is so well filtered and purified that none of the andogen
sensitive components of milk are present.
To recap, lactoferrin is an extremely powerful and important
tool in improving cellular immune function. But in serious
illnesses I would strongly recommend getting in touch with a
nutritionist or a nutritionally-oriented physician of some sort
to develop a comprehensive program.
Reduces Viral Load in Hep-C Patients
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