The New Zealand company Fonterra says it’s considering following new research which demonstrates that eating lactoferrin – a bioactive fraction of milk whey – can help lessen acne symptoms.
“Fonterra is keen on following this work, and should improved effects be seen, there may very well be an opportunity to take a look at a variety of channels from foodstuffs to pharmaceutical applications”, said the large dairy cooperative’s group director of technology, Jeremy Hill.
But Dr Hill stated the study, just published on the internet in a scientific journal, Nutrition, by Korean scientists, so far demonstrated only a 20% improvement in the acne symptoms.
Dr Yunhi Cho at Kyung Hee University in Korea, stated the symptoms lessened over 12 weeks through which affected individuals ate lactoferrin-enriched fermented milk — the very first time that the effect had been seen.
The earliest non-inflammatory lesions in acne are formed as a result of hair follicles becoming plugged by oily secretions known as sebum, but the researchers stated the lactoferrin not only lowered the acne but also the secretions causing it.
Fonterra and its smaller Waikato rival, Tatua, are important processors of lactoferrin, which requires 10,000 to 14,000 tonnes of milk to be processed to produce 1 tonne of lactoferrin. The protein is primarily made use of in sports drinks, infant formulas and capsules sold as dietary supplements to enhance people’s immune systems.
But it’s also currently being tested in New Zealand ice cream, to offer protection against diarrhoea side-effects in patients on some kinds of cancer medications.
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