Ongoing global research demonstrates lactoferrin’s immune benefits in adult populations, especially the elderly who often suffer from age related immune loss. An age related decline in immune function increases the risk of infectious diseases, one of the leading causes of death.

A 2015 clinical trial demonstrated daily supplementation with 300mg lactoferrin can help activate specific cells that trigger the immune response. This may be beneficial to elderly individuals or those who suffer from age related immune loss.

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled study evaluated the effects of lactoferrin on the immune function of healthy, elderly individuals. 62 healthy men and women aged 66-87 years were randomised into two groups. The first group received placebo tablets once a day. The second group received tablets with 300mg of lactoferrin once a day.

After 3 months, the certain aspects of the immune function were significantly enhanced in the lactoferrin group.

The lactoferrin group demonstrated a gradual increase in neutrophil function (neutrophil
phagocytic capacity) whereas the placebo group showed a trend towards reduced neutrophil function. Neutrophils are a defence component against infection. This difference was statistically significant at the end of the 3 month period.

The group supplemented with lactoferrin also demonstrated an increase in NK Cell cytotoxicity. whereas the placebo group showed a reductive trend. NK Cells are critical to the innate immune response and provide targeted response to abnormal cells such as viruses. This difference was statistically significant at the end of the 3 month period.

This study supports 300mg lactoferrin supplementation in elderly individuals to help activate specific immune cells that have the capacity to trigger an immune response.

Study: Kawakami H et al., Effects of enteric-coated lactoferrin supplementation on the immune function of elderly individuals: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, International Dairy Journal, 47 (2015) 79-85.