Did You Know…that a whey protein found in milk can be taken in supplement form to reverse osteoporosis, treat iron deficiency, as well as restrain the growth of HIV?
You may have seen the advertisements and TV commercials about potent bisphosphonate drugs that treat and prevent osteoporosis. Such drugs are marketed to post-menopausal women who are at highest risk of acquiring osteoporosis. The drugs, however, come with potential side effects that are serious.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that use of bisphosphonates increases the possibility of severe and sometimes incapacitating bone, joint and/or muscle pain; and the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research stated that long-term use of bisphosphonates may increase the risk of a rare but serious fracture of the thigh bone.
Research shows that a “natural medicine” derived from milk may be an alternative approach to preventing and reversing osteoporosis — without exposing one’s self to the adverse side effects that accompany the use of drugs.
A study carried out at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that lactoferrin, found naturally in milk, promotes bone growth. “Lactoferrin may have a physiological role in bone growth and healing and a potential therapeutic role … in osteoporosis,” said the researchers.
In other words, lactoferrin can repair bones that have already been weakened by osteoporosis.
It’s lactoferrin’s ability to bind with iron molecules that makes it so powerful for bone health. Iron binding also makes lactoferrin a heavyweight against bacteria and viruses including E. coli, hepatitis C, and even AIDS.
“Stimulates Normal Bone Growth More Powerfully Than a Number of Other Naturally Occurring Human Growth Factors”
Dr. Robert Pendergast, a respected holistic doctor, explains on his wellness blog why lactoferrin is such a “perfect approach to holistic medicine”:
“First … it provides broad defense against many microbial enemies such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Itboosts the immune system, helps wounds to heal, and has anti-tumor properties. And as if that weren’t enough, it stimulates normal bone growth more powerfully than a number of other naturally occurring human growth factors. It does this by turning on the activity of cells called osteoblasts (bone building cells) and inhibiting the activity of osteoclasts (bone breakdown cells).
“And at the same time, I have found nothing in the medical literature suggesting any adverse effect of this treatment approach. A natural medicine like this that helps the body do more of what it naturally wants to do anyway, with no known adverse effects, that’s a perfect approach for holistic medicine.”
Dr. Pendergast strongly endorses a daily lactoferrin supplement for anyone who already has osteopenia or osteoporosis, recommending a standard dose of 250 mg twice daily.
But the benefits of lactoferrin go far beyond bone health.
Natural health experts say that anyone struggling with wear and tear or chronic low-grade infections, such as recurring Candida or periodontal problems, should consider supplementing with lactoferrin.
Better than Antibiotics?
Lactoferrin does more than aid iron absorption — it also prevents the circulation of excess unbound iron in your system.
This helps keep microbes in check, and fights off several conditions that can erupt in the presence of unbound iron:
• Bacterial infections
• Gastrointestinal disorders
• Iron toxicity (which can be fatal if untreated)
Lactoferrin’s most impressive weapon against bacteria might be that it works non-specifically. In contrast, antibiotics target specific bacteria — which can lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria strains, against which antibiotics become useless. Lactoferrin works in a completely different way and will never cease to effectively eliminate unhealthy bacteria.
Cytokines: Nature’s Virus Killers
Lactoferrin is a part of a family of chemical compounds called cytokines — some of the only known antiviral agents. Cytokines work with the body’s immune system to protect against infections … tumors … and cancers.
Lactoferrin also thwarts Hepatitis C in human cells as shown in an impressive study conducted by the National Cancer Institute in Tokyo, Japan. This finding aligns with earlier research on lactoferrin’s antiviral potential, first published in a paper by an AIDS researcher.
Subsequent studies have shown that lactoferrin can restrain the growth of HIV.
Good News for Those Who Are Deficient in Iron
In addition to its strength in fending off serious health conditions, lactoferrin is also the best way to treat iron deficiency. Inadequate iron levels are remarkably common, affecting billions of people according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms of iron deficiency (extreme anemia) include:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Women, children, vegetarians, and high-endurance athletes are most prone to iron deficiencies, but anyone can be affected.
Most people get their iron primarily from the food they eat. However, dietary sources of iron are likely to be highly processed, and the iron within becomes denatured. Denatured iron is very difficult for the body to absorb.
Even some dietary supplements of iron may be ineffective if the iron they contain is a by-product of cheese manufacturing…which is all too common. Should you decide to supplement your iron intake, be sure the product you’re using is non-denatured.
Denatured or not, however, iron supplements produce gastrointestinal side effects, while lactoferrin does not.
Research done at the University of Naples in Italy showed that lactoferrin capsules were just as effective as iron supplements in correcting iron deficiency among healthy pregnant women.
Even though you might already be taking an iron supplement, many health practitioners recommend combining your iron supplement with lactoferrin.
According to Dr. John R. Lee, M.D., “Lactoferrin enhances iron absorption, and at the same time protects the body from the negative, oxidative effects of excess iron. It can decrease or eliminate the side effects of nausea and constipation caused by iron supplementation.”
In a few clinical studies, lactoferrin was administered at a dose of 40mg/daily. According to some experts such as Dr. Pendergast, however, those who supplement with non-denatured lactoferrin often take as much as 250mg per day.