Structure and Functions of Lactoferrin as Ingredient in Infant Formulas

  •  Esmat Aly    
  •  Gaspar Ros    
  •  Carmen Frontela    


It has been widely accepted that breastfeeding is the best food for newborns. Mother’s milk provides all the nutritive elements for normal growth and development of infants being considered the first functional food in life. Because it contains a variety of compounds playing a key role in the adequate feeding of newborns, such as oligosaccharides, probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids and lactoferrin. Lactoferrin from human milk has been demonstrated to be responsible for the resistance of newborns to infections and also has many biological activities that are essential for an adequate health of infants. Recently, there is also a growing interest in the potential use of lactoferrin for the improvement of bone health and cancer prevention. Milk substitutes and infant formulas play a vital role in infant nutrition when the breastfeeding is not available. The design of infant formula is modeled on the composition of human milk and the current trend in the infant formulas manufacturing is looking to provide not only nutritional compounds but also similar functional effects than human milk.

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