Effect of bovine lactoferrin from iron-fortified formulas on diarrhea and respiratory tract infections of weaned infants in a randomized controlled trial

Ke Chen, Lingying Chai, Hua Li, Ying Zhang, Hu-Mina Xie, Jia Shang, Weizheng Tian, Ping Yang, Alice C Jiang
Nutrition 2016, 32 (2): 222-7

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementation with bovine lactoferrin (bLf) from iron-fortified formulas on diarrhea and respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in weaned infants.

METHODS: In this prospective, multicenter, controlled intervention study, 260 infants ages 4 to 6 mo who previously were exclusively breastfed but weaned were randomized into two groups: a lactoferrin-fortified formula milk group (fortified group, FG, containing lactoferrin 38 mg/100 g milk) and a no lactoferrin-fortified milk (control group, CG); breastfed infants were enrolled and served as a reference group (breastfed group, BG). The intervention duration was 3 mo. The morbidity of diarrhea and RTIs were collected during supplementation.

RESULTS: The results of the study demonstrated evidence of a lower incidence rate of respiratory-related illnesses and fewer symptoms of running nose, cough, and wheezing for infants in the FG and BG groups compared with those in the CG (P < 0.05). Despite the undistinguished incidence rate of vomiting, nausea, and colic, the occurrences of diarrhea-related illnesses were significantly lower for children in the FG and BG than for those in CG (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The beneficial effects on infectious morbidity over 3 mo highlighted the potential of bLF supplementation for previously weaned infants; these findings may be applicable to other infants living in similar socioeconomic districts.

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