the bioactive peptide that fights disease.

by *Will Brink (from the October 2000 issue of Life Extension)


As regular readers of the LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE are aware, whey protein appears to function as a natural food against cancer, HIV, overtraining syndrome in athletes and a host of pathologies. In Particular, whey's efffects on glutathione levels and Immunity are well documented in many animal studies with a growing number of human studies confirming the results with animals.

Whey is one of two major proteins found in milk, the other being casein.When we talk about whey we are actually referring to a complex protein made up of many smaller protein subfractions (peptides), including beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins, glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin (BSA), and minor peptides such as lactoperoxidases, lysozyme and lactoferrin. Each of the subfractions found in whey has its own unique biological properties.

Up until quite recently, separating these subfractions on a large scale was either impossible or prohibitively expensive. Modern filtering technology has improved dramatically in the past few years allowing a handful of companies to seperate some of the highly bioactive peptides from whey, such as LACTOFERRIN. Many of these subfractions are only found in very minute amounts in cows milk, normally at less than 1%. For example, lactoferrin makes up approximately 0.5% - 1% or less of whey protein derived from cows milk, where as human mothers milk will contain up to 15% lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin appears to be the subfraction of whey with documented anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-cancer and immune modulating/enhancing effects. There is little doubt that lactoferrin could become the natural compound of choice in the treatment and prevention of a host of human ailments. To follow is a summary of what lactoferrin might have to offer.


A minor fraction of whey, lactoferrin appears to have a wide variety of uses in biological systems and is considered a first line immune defense in the human body.

Lactoferrin appears to be particularly important in the health and function of the intestinal tract and has been found to greatly reduce systemic and intestinal inflammation in such conditions as inflamatory bowel disease and others. The gastrointestinal tract must be viewed as an ecologic system in which a balance between both good and bad bacterial flora(micro flora) exists. An overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestinal tract is known to casue a wide range of sever problems that cause a myraid of pro-inflammatory mediators to be released, causing disruptions throughout the entire body.

When fed to adult animals and human infants, lactoferrin showed a dramatic increase in good microflora,such as bifidus,and a decrease in bad bacteria, such as E.coli, streptococcus,clostridium and others. The result was desirable intestinal flora, which is known to be essential for optimal health, immunity and resistance to disease.


Lactoferrin has been found to both directly and indirectly inhibit several viruses that cause disease in humans. It directly inhibits viruses by binding to viral receptor sites, thus preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells.

It's interesting to note that there is a systemic deficiency of lactoferrin in people with HIV infection.Lactoferrin was also found to have a "potent" anti-viral effects against the replication of both human HIV and cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus in several in vitro studies with no cytopathic effects on healthy cells.

The importance of lactoferrin in viral infections warrants a great deal of further research and use by clinicians. There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a key molecule for the body and the immune system in the fight against viruses and other microbes, and could be an effective supplement for people with viral infections.


Perhaps one of the most promising uses for lactoferrin may be in its potential as a nontoxic adjuvant cancer treatment agent. Extensive in-vitro(test tube) and in-vivo research with animals has shown lactoferrin to be a powerful anti-cancer agent.

Multiple studies using both rats and mice exposed to a toxic chemical (zaoxymethane) known to cause tumors throughout the gastrointestinal tract, administered concomitanlty with lactoferrin, showed a large reduction in intestinal polyp development. Just as important, there were no toxic effects to intestinal epithelial tissues.

Another study found the addition of lactoferrin to cancer prone mice subjected to cancer causing chemicals reduced the number of tumors and suppressed angiogenesis (the production of new blood vessels), which tumors need to survive. This study also found lactoferrin "significantly inhibited" liver and lung metastasis of cancer cells in these animals.

Yet another study found lactoferrin to be very effective at suppressing the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells. So much so the researchers concluded that lactoferrin"...might become one of the new drugs of choice for the adjuvant therapy against pancreatic cancer." One study that examined lactoferrin's effects on chemically induced colon cancer found that "no effects indicative of toxicity were noted(from the use of lactoferrin), but significant reductions in both incidence and number of adenocarcinomas (tumors) of the large intestine were observed in almost all treatments.


Probably lactoferrins best known role is as an iron binding protein. It's referred to as hololactoferrin in its iron bound form and apolacroferrin in its iron depleted form.Directly related to lactoferrin's previously mentioned ability to suppress certain health degrading bacteria in the intestine, lactoferrin is a powerful anti-microbial that inhibits a wide range of pathogenic bacteria and other microbes


Finally, lactoferrin is an antioxidant that scavenges free iron, helping to prevent uncontrolled iron based free radical reactions, thus protecting certain cells from peroxidation. Though lactoferrin is both an iron scavenger and donor (depending on the cellular environment), it has been found to scavenge or donate iron at the appropriate times when the body is in need of the reaction.

Several studies suggest lactoferrin reduces oxidative stress. Diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and AIDS are all closely related to oxidative stress either as a causative factor or as a factor in progression of the disease.

One study that examined the role of WHEY PROTEINS, multifermented whey proteins and lactoferrin in oxidative stress made the bold statement,"We can conclude that whey protein, lactoferrrin and multifermented whey are good candidates as dietary inhibitors of oxidative stress and should be considered as potential medicinal foods in various pathologies as HIV infections and cancer."


There is little doubt that lactoferrin is a major find and a potential breakthrough as a natural nontoxic treatment in an array of human ailments.

*William D. Brink is a well known medical,fitness and health writer for a variety of publications. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in the natural sciences, and is a regular guest on national radio shows and a speaker at various conventions around the U.S.



Latest report from the

National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan

suggests that whey protein, particularly its major component bovine lactoferrin (bLF), may inhibit colon cancer. Results from earlier research they had conducted in a rat model, showed a lower incidence and number of adenocardnomas in bLF-fed animals. After administering various doses of bLF for 36 weeks, in conjunction with three weekly injections of a carcinogen, results showed that the incidence of adenocardnomas in rats receiving 2% and 0.2% blf were 15% and 25%, respectively. In contrast, the control rats had an incidence rate of 57.5 %. These results basically show bLF's ability to reduce colon cancer by 50%

Calcium has been receiving attention after showing the potential to cut colon cancer risk in recent human trials. It's believed to exert its anti-carcinogenic activity possibly by helping to bind both fatty acid and bile acid in the colon and keeping them from interacting with and irritating the colon lining. A recent study that tracked 70 patients at risk for colon cancer for a year had half of its participants consume their normal diet, while asking the other half to increase their calcium intake from low-fat foods to about 1500mg per day. The investigators report significant improvements in the risk biomarkers for men who followed the high-calcium diet.

1st & Best WheyMilk HAS 30 % WHEY PROTEIN and 35% RDA OF CALCIUM IN EVERY 8 OZ. GLASS!!

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