Lactoferrin is a protein, a glycoprotein specifically, from mammalian milk. It’s especially abundant in colostrum, which is breast milk produced right after giving birth.
Basically, it’s a super healthy protein, and it’s healthy for more than just babies. It’s also for babies, though, as it’s a key ingredient in many baby formulas.
Most lactoferrin products come from cow’s milk.
On a mechanistic level, lactoferrin binds with and transports iron, which is a crucial mineral for hundreds of bodily functions.
It has also shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in mice studies and human studies.
Because its benefits are wide-ranging, the best way to think about lactoferrin is as a supplement that generally improves immune function. That said, there’s plenty of more specific research as well.
A 2014 review study in the Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy examined all of the available research on lactoferrin and concluded that lactoferrin, even through oral supplementation, may protect against viral infections.
Again, it boosts our immune system, so fewer colds may be a consequence of that.
More broadly, lactoferrin may provide immune support.
A lot of research on lactoferrin has specifically looked at how it interacts with the bacteria h.pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.
Studies on this specific link have concluded that lactoferrin from cows reduces ulcer infections.
In a 2017 study, lactoferrin supplements combined with zinc and vitamin E even improved acne, across over 160 subjects aged 13-40.
These benefits are promising and well-established in the literature. But, not all supplements are created equal. In fact, because the supplement industry isn’t regulated by the FDA, most supplements are, well, total crap. While we have our preferences, every product on our list is GMP (good manufacturing practices) certified.
Lactoferrin has even been studied for improving iron absorption. Specifically, it has been looked at as a treatment for anemia (iron deficiency) in both children and adults.
So, here are the highest-quality lactoferrin supplements on the market.
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BioQuad’s lactoferrin product is the highest quality and most transparent on the market.
First of all, they use a form of lactoferrin that undergoes a patented process called Treatment for Contamination Reduction (TCR). The idea here is simple: to use a more bioavailable form of lactoferrin. They’re the only company that goes through this process.
One aspect of this process is to use a freeze-dried form, which maintains the structure, and therefore the efficacy of the lactoferrin. As studies dating back decades have shown, lactoferrin begins to denature at 194° Fahrenheit (90° C).
They’re also transparent about where their lactoferrin comes from. Most of the studies look at cow iterations, and BioQuad takes this a step further and only use lactoferrin from cows that aren’t fed antibiotics and hormones.
Their product also includes other synergistic compounds to boost immunity and reinforce the gastrointestinal system, and they back up this process with scientific studies.
(In fact, BioQuad is led by world-class researchers on lactoferrin.)
No other products contain lactoferrin-TCR or the synergistic compounds.
BioQuad Lactoferrin is also lactose-free (and gluten-free, and non-GMO). Although they use milk, their process filters out nearly all of the lactose.
BioQuad Lactoferrin Gold 1.8® is available in 30 and 60 capsule packages, for $35 and $60 respectively. Each capsule comes with 30 capsules, and contains 60mg of lactoferrin, which is the amount of lactoferrin a healthy person innately produces and uses on a daily basis (i.e. daily body turnover), per their research.
Since their product is the most bioactive and bioavailable, their calibrated lactoferrin dose delivers the ideal health benefits for $35 (whereas other products require higher lactoferrin doses to be effective.)
For all of these reasons, BioQuad Lactoferrin Gold is our clear #1 choice.
Double Wood Supplements provide some of the highest quality products on the market at prices that are tough to beat.
Their bovine lactoferrin product is nothing fancy, but it’s quality and cost-effective.
Every bottle contains 60, 125mg lactoferrin caps for just $20. They also use a vegetarian capsule.
They are cGMP-certified, of course, but they go beyond this and provide a certificate of analysis for all of their products.
Unlike BioQuad, we don’t know the process their product goes from cow to capsule, but it is also derived from cow’s milk.
If you’re looking to test out lactoferrin at a low price, this is a top-tier choice for you.
This product is non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, made in the USA, and comes with a money-back guarantee.
This product from Jarrow Formulas has a few benefits at a great value. First, it has close to the highest dose on our list, with a whopping 250mg in every capsule. Each bottle contains 60 capsules for $33, so it’s a great value.
They’re also transparent about their freeze drying process. As we mentioned, heated lactoferrin products risk getting denatured, and therefore lose their effectiveness. With Jarrow, you know you’re getting a bioavailable product.
Jarrow’s product also has thousands of five-star reviews.
Nutricology’s lactoferrin product has a few distinctions.
First of all, each capsule contains, in addition to 100mg of lactoferrin, 250mg of colostrum. Colostrum is the type of milk produced just after pregnancy in mammals, and it’s high in all kinds of nutrients that other milks don’t have.
Second, Nutricology is known for using ingredients with the lowest allergy potential.
Life Extension’s product contains 300mg per capsule, which is the highest on our list. But with 60 capsules for $45, it’s still not as good a value as the most comparable product, Double Wood.
The biggest difference is that Life Extension uses a form called apolactoferrin, which does not contain ferric iron. But on a practical level, there’s not much difference.
That said, if you’re looking for a high dose it’s a solid option from a solid company.
While lactoferrin can be sourced from lactose-free sources like rice, it most commonly comes from cow products.
However, if it’s filtered out, it can still come from cow sources and
Lactoferrin from cow’s milk will likely have lactose, unless it’s filtered out. But many supplements source it from rice.
On our list, BioQuad’s lactoferrin is lactose-free because of their filtration process.
Many studies have investigated whether lactoferrin can help with the prevention and symptoms of colds. If you feel you’re at the onset of a cold, consider adding lactoferrin to your cold-fighting stack alongside zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
Lactoferrin has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which would explain how it helps in this regard.
It’s a protein from milk, so there aren’t any serious side effects, unless you have a lactose intolerance.
Studies with up to 400mg have shown no side effects.
Just don’t be stupid and take excessive amounts.
No, but it is a prebiotic. That is, while it’s not a live bacteria, it does support good living bacteria. For this reason, it’s popular to take with a probiotic.
Disclaimer: We are not doctors and we don’t pretend to be on the internet. Talk to your healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplement, including lactoferrin.