Breastfeeding – what is lactoferrin?

Breast is best also refers to immunity benefits. Immunity is the term used to describe one’s ability to fight off illnesses we get and/or are exposed to. Not only are you able to give your child antibodies (the proteins that fight against illness  – based on mom’s experiences with various nasties over time) but there is also a very useful immunity component to breast milk that most people don’t know too much about: lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin, like transferrin (in red blood cells), carries iron.  Bacteria need iron to reproduce.  And bacteria that are reproducing are far more likely to cause problems. Problems like infection. So lactoferrin can essentially hide any free / extra iron and keep it away from bacteria so that they can’t grow (bacteriostatic action).

Research has also discovered that the immune response is activated by lactoferrin.  This means your baby gets more than a double shot of immunity just by eating your breast milk. Lactoferrin levels are especially high in colostrum (the first milk that emerges after labour).  I assume this is to give your little one the best immunological chance possible – and thank you nature!

Reposted with modifications from You Get Well Soon Inc.

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About YouGetWellSoon

I'm a Calgary mom who left a life of research and teaching to stay at home and raise my children. I'm also a business owner: YouGetWellSoon.
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