Lactoferrin may reduce the incidence of lower respiratory tract infections in young infants

Lactoferrin is found in much higher quantities in human breast milk (1-2g/L) than cow’s milk (20-200mg/L). It has important anti-microbial and iron-binding properties that may be important in protecting and enhancing the immune system of infants. In this double blinded, placebo-controlled trial, 850mg/L of lactoferrin was used for 12 months in 52 children aged between >34 weeks of gestation to less than 4 weeks of age. Lactoferrin was found to reduce LRTI (notably wheezing, an inflammatory process) in those infants. There were fewer incidences of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) – (0.15 episodes/yr in lactoferrin treated vs. 0.5 episodes/year in the control group) at 9 months of age (P<0.05). There was a significant higher hematocrit level in the lactoferrin-supplemented infants at 9 months compared to the control group. Thus, lactoferrin appears to have many positive effects on young infants such as a reduction in the incidence of LRTI in young infants.

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King, J.C., Jr., et al., A double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study of bovine lactoferrin supplementation in bottle-fed infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2007. 44(2): p. 245-51.

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