Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein belonging to the iron or transferrin family. Besides aiding in the transport of iron in the neonate, lactoferrin also appears to have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and Immunomodulatory activities.
The antibacterial and antioxidant actions of lactoferrin are due to its ability to strongly bind iron. Iron is essential to support the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Lactoferrin may also inhibit the ability of bacteria to attach to the intestinal wall.
The antiviral activity may be due to its inhibition of virus-cell fusion and viral entry into cells. Lactoferrin’s Immunomodulatory activity may be due to its promoting the growth and differentiation of T lymphocytes.