Researchers have discovered that lactoferrin, a protein found in milk, may help those who suffer from osteoporosis. The discovery could lead to new osteoporosis treatments.
Researchers at Auckland’s Osteoporosis Research Group in New Zealand have found that lactoferrin not only helps prevent bone breakdown, but it also helps bones grow four times faster than usual when injected directly into bone cells.
Lactoferrin could be applied directly to fractures to promote faster healing, said lead research Jill Cornish.
The research is part of the LactoPharma project — a joint venture between New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra and Auckland UniServices. LactoPharma has already filed patent applications for lactoferrin as a bone-growth promoter.
New Zealand dairy companies already commercially produce lactoferrin. It sells for about $350 (U.S. dollars) per kilogram in Japan and Korea.
It takes about 10,000 tons of milk to produce one ton of lactoferrin.
Cornish unveiled the group’s research findings in late November at the World Dairy Summit in Australia.