Lactoferrin benefits and belly fat

I’m still on my quest to find out what helps to get rid of belly fat.
This discussion centers around a supplement called Lactoferrin. It’s a protein found in our immune system and in milk – human milk and cow’s milk too. For infants it provides protection against infectious bacteria and fungus. As adults we still benefit from the immune protection of Lactoferrin in our bodily secretions, tears, saliva and mucous. But, apart from these wonderful properties Lactoferrin can help reduce abdominal fat–especially the visceral kind of fat which is the most dangerous.

There are not a whole lot of studies on Lactoferrin and abdominal obesity, but I did find a double blind, placebo controlled study which provides pretty convincing evidence. There were 24 Japanese subjects between the ages of 22 and 60 years, and although the study is compelling, there is a caveat.

Not all supplements, foods, drugs, herbs have consistent effects across the different human populations and cultures. The emerging field of geonomics is revealing information about how individuals respond at the genetic level. It turns out that how one individual metabolizes is different to another, and this can be especially the case between races of people. So based on this study Lactoferin is promising and seems to work for people of Japanese descent. However,additional studies a e needed to examine  a wider array of human populations. This would then help to determine if the results of the supplements will be similar to the study of Japanese.

That being said, let’s look at what the study revealed.
For 8 weeks the participants took 300mg of bovine lactoferrin or a placebo. Those who took the Lactoferrin supplement had significantly reduced abdominal fat. The experimental group lost an average of 1.79 inches (4.4cm) off their waist circumference and the placebo group lost only 0.35 inches (0.9cm). Now that’s pretty impressive. It wasn’t only abdominal obesity that decreased. On average, weight in the Lactoferrin group decreased 3.3 pound (1.5kg) and in the placebo group, weight decreased by 2.2 pound or 1kg.

If you are obesity, or eat high fat meals, your need for Lactoferrin might increase
If you are severely obese, the amount of Lactoferrin that circulates in your system reduces, according to a study in 2009. This is important for more than weight loss because Lactoferrin contributes to anti inflammation activity. This study provided 45 morbidly obese people with a high fat meal of 60grams of mixed typed fats. What they found was that the amount of circulating lactoferrin was significantly reduced with a high fat meal, but those with the highest levels of lactoferrin also retained the highest level of HDL cholesterol – also called ‘good’ cholesterol. Just on a side note the bulk of the fat used for meal was monounsaturated this is the ‘good’ fat. The message is clear here, a high fat meal even if it’s the good fat, still will produce detrimental effects in the body, although less than it would have if the fat was mostly saturated.  Another question raised is if this result is consistent among all body types, not just the morbidly obese?

But I digress……………….

What else can we find out about Lactoferrin and abdominal obesity.
Well, not a whole lot at least for human studies, and for obesity or abdominal fat alone. There are studies dedicated to insulin function, and of course this has an effect on weight but they weren’t specific enough to include here. The Natural Standards Data Base doesn’t recognize Lactoferrin and weight loss at all. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t have benefit – it more likely reflects the paucity of studies on Lactoferrin and weight loss or abdominal obesity.

So how much cow’s milk do you need to drink if you want to give this a try
Oh, about 3 liters will give you 300mg of Lactoferrin. I think your belly fat will not shrink like this. As usual here’s the thing– its burning more calories than you use that results in weight loss. So, for me, milk won’t work. I don’t like it much anyway….yogurt and kefir, well that’s a different story… There is some evidence relating calcium and belly fat and that I’m going to post about that next time for my getting rid of belly fat series.

Fat Overload Induces Changes in Circulating Lactoferrin That Are Associated With Postprandial Lipemia and Oxidative Stress in Severely Obese Subjects Obesity (2010) 18 3, 482–488. doi:10.1038/oby.2009.266

Potent anti-obesity effect of enteric-coated lactoferrin: decrease in visceral fat accumulation in Japanese men and women with abdominal obesity after 8-week administration of enteric-coated lactoferrin tablets. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(11):1688-95. Epub 2010 Aug 9.


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