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Lactoferrin pp 389-397 | Cite as

Lactoferrin in Infant Formulas

How and Why?
  • Günther Sawatzki
Part of the Experimental Biology and Medicine book series (EBAM, volume 28)

Summary

Mature human milk contains about 2-3 mg/mL of lactoferrin. Until now, most infant formulas have not contained lactoferrin. The role of lactoferrin in human milk is discussed as a key molecule in iron absorption/transport and as an antimicrobial agent. Bovine lactoferrin is naturally iron-saturated at the 20% level. So far, only a few studies have been performed in infants fed infant formulas with bovine lactoferrin added. In a study using naturally 20% iron-saturated bovine lactoferrin, plasma ferritin levels were increased and the typical bifidus flora of human milk-fed infants was observed. Nevertheless, the results were only significant after a feeding period of 3 mo after starting formula feeding at birth. It will be discussed that human milk-lactoferrin is less (4%) iron-saturated in human milk and that the infant does not need an additional iron supply for the first 3 mo of life. Lactoferrin may also function as an anti-infective agent and may prevent the outbreak of infections. All studies do not strongly support the need of the supplementation of infant formulas with lactoferrin. Therefore, new study designs should be discussed for using bovine lactoferrin or recombinant human lactoferrin. It is also important to find out at which level (concentration) of lactoferrin in infant formulas and at what iron saturation lactoferrin should be added into infant formulas. New models for testing of lactoferrin in vivo must be designed carefully to understand the role of lactoferrin in the control of the microbiological ecosystem in the infants’ gut.

Keywords

Iron Absorption Human Milk Infant Formula Iron Saturation Human Lactoferrin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther Sawatzki

There are no affiliations available

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