Immune system support. A natural ability to aid iron regulation. Gut health nourishment. With its incredible ability to support numerous aspects of our overall health, it’s no wonder that lactoferrin has since become a must-have supplement after it was first discovered in 1939.
What Is Lactoferrin?
Lactoferrin is an iron-binding protein found naturally in milk (human and animal) and bodily fluids like tears and saliva.
Animal milk, like cow’s milk, contains lactoferrin only in very low concentrations. On the other hand, human milk (especially colostrum a.k.a. the first milk a mother produces immediately after a baby is born) contains lactoferrin in the highest quantities.
Uses of Lactoferrin
One of lactoferrin’s most notable benefits is its natural ability to regulate iron metabolism. This is essential for maintaining optimum physical performance, which makes lactoferrin supplements suitable for supporting the health of gamers, athletes, and those who frequently engage in physically demanding activities.
Lactoferrin is also able to maintain a healthy gut barrier system—a must for optimal nutrient absorption. Lactoferrin supplements can hence be very useful for supporting good gut health, in turn helping to maintain aspects of mental health like stress regulation.
How Is Lactoferrin Produced?
Current commercial lactoferrin production methods are incredibly resource intensive.
Numerous steps are involved. Firstly, fats have to be stripped from the milk (fat impedes lactoferrin extraction). Then, the milk is run through costly resin columns to extract the lactoferrin. This laborious process opens up many opportunities for potential spoilage and contamination.
And then there’s the fact that the whole process requires a lot of milk.
For starters, one liter of milk contains only about 100 mg of lactoferrin (that’s a mere 0.0001%). To put things into perspective, each lactoferrin supplement capsule on the market contains an average of 200 mg of lactoferrin.
This means that it takes approximately two liters of milk to make just one lactoferrin supplement capsule. A bottle of lactoferrin supplements contains an average of 60 capsules—which would mean needing an astounding 120 liters of milk to make just two months worth of supplements. Multiply that amount by the countless people taking lactoferrin supplements around the world: The numbers speak volumes.
Is Lactoferrin Production Sustainable?
In short: Not yet.
Obtaining this high-value protein through milk still requires a reliance on environmentally harmful, emissions-heavy cattle farming.
At the same time, its resource-intensive process contributes to this powerhouse protein’s high price: Current market prices fluctuate between several hundred dollars to $2,000 for a kg of bovine lactoferrin.
This explains why the majority of lactoferrin today goes towards niche, high-value products like supplements. This makes it near impossible for other demographics to sustainably incorporate lactoferrin and its countless health benefits into their daily lives.
LF+: The Future of Sustainable Nutrition
It’s clear that lactoferrin production has to be redesigned to be far more sustainable and accessible. This current gap in the market is exactly why we decided to create LF+.
As the world’s first sustainably produced lactoferrin using precision fermentation, LF+ will present a new phase forward in the world of lactoferrin production.
With precision fermentation, lactoferrin can be created directly via highly productive microbes instead of sifting through thousands of liters of milk. In doing away with the need for milk, we can side-step all the carbon emissions associated with cattle farming—an estimated 91% reduction in GHG emissions, 29% reduction in energy usage, 95% reduction in blue water usage, and 81% reduction in land use, in fact.
Food safety standards will also get an upgrade: By streamlining lactoferrin production within a lab-controlled environment, common health concerns associated with conventional agriculture—like foodborne illnesses via animal feed contamination or antibiotic resistance—can become a thing of the past.
On top of all that, as compared to current methods of lactoferrin production, precision fermentation also enables more than 100x higher yield. This opens up the potential for consumers to improve their personal nutrition at a much more sustainable cost as compared to the present.
It’s a future where consumers will no longer have to choose between their health and that of the planet’s.
Moving Lactoferrin Beyond Just Supplements
Current nutrition inadequacies globally have made it hard to look away from the need to urgently improve nutrition for everyone everywhere.
It’s simply not enough to have lactoferrin limited to just high-value products like supplements anymore. With the scalability potential of LF+ enabled by precision fermentation, we’re envisioning a better future where all segments of the population can enjoy the benefits of lactoferrin through everyday food products.
The growing aging population in urban areas is set to spur the need for better sources of senior nutrition. Seniors require nutrient-dense diets that nourish their health holistically—and in a format suitable for the physical changes that can accompany aging.
Reduced mobility, oral health decline (leading to difficulties in swallowing or chewing), and even a change in taste preferences all necessitate high-quality sources of nutrition that can be easily adapted to various formats.
With LF+ designed to be mixed into everyday food products, this opens up new possibilities for more delicious products that doubly support the immune system and gut health in convenient formats suited to every senior’s unique needs, preferences, and lifestyles.
Ask any serious athlete and they’ll tell you that optimum nutrient uptake and absorption are essential for fueling their mental and physical performance. With its natural gut health-nourishing properties, lactoferrin is the perfect way to take performance nutrition to the next level.
Think: next-generation snacks and beverages that allow for a boost of mental acuity and physical nourishment on the go. And it’s not just pro athletes who stand to benefit from these foods—the everyday person keen on improving their health and cognitive performance for better everyday living too, can stand to benefit from everyday foods enhanced with LF+.
For babies without access to human milk, their first few meals in life will come through the form of infant formula.
Yet, formula is no perfect replacement for human milk—it lacks key bioactive proteins in human milk—like lactoferrin—that provide significant support for the immune system and neurological development. In fact, as compared to exclusively breast-fed infants, formula-fed infants are at a higher risk for mortality and infections.
The high price of lactoferrin however currently sees only 3-17% of infant formulas enhanced with lactoferrin. For all infant formula to feasibly incorporate lactoferrin, lactoferrin production first has to be scalable—and in a manner that meets the highest safety standards for infant health.
With precision fermentation technology, we’re en route to providing infants everywhere with optimal, next-generation nutrition through formula boosted with LF+.
Nourishing the World With LF+
Created with our guiding philosophy of Food Intelligence in mind, LF+ represents a new frontier in the world of nutrition. Nourishment for our bodies can be optimized for our own unique needs while concurrently making it easy to keep the health of the planet in check.
In finally unlocking the benefits of lactoferrin for more groups of people, we’re well on our way to shaking up nutrition for good—for good.
Let the nutrition revolution begin.
Sustainable nutrition for all is just around the corner. Reach out to us to find out how you can be a part of this.