woman stomach ache GN bioferrin lactoferrin iron

Bioferrin Lactoferrin

It’s been well documented that consumers are experiencing deficiencies in iron with the World Health Organization stating that iron is the number one micronutrient deficiency worldwide1. There is a variety of iron supplements on the market, however, there’s one major problem that comes with taking many iron supplements: irritation & discomfort.

Iron supplements often cause an upset stomach, constipation, and vomiting among other issues2. Even healthcare practitioners are reporting that 87%3 of consumers have a problem with their iron supplements and 48%of them regularly complain about it. 


To understand why iron supplements typically cause stomach upset and intestinal discomfort, you need to understand how the body absorbs free form iron. When iron supplements are taken, the absorption of iron goes through several steps. Gastric acid, enzymes and churning action that takes place in the stomach helps make the iron more soluble. However, iron supplements typically only have an absorption rate of 20% leaving the remaining 80% as nourishment for bacteria, and as the bacteria feed on this unabsorbed iron, the result is a stomach upset. 

Iron absorption occurs through cells in the upper part of the small intestines, where harmful bacteria feed on the poorly absorbed iron, leading to intestinal discomfort. Furthermore, inflammation of the intestines reduces the possibility of the absorption of iron. Inhibitors like phytates and polyphenols can limit the absorption of iron by forming complexes with iron, carrying iron out of the body instead of letting iron be absorbed.

With poor absorption and intestinal discomfort, standard sources of iron found in most supplements face many challenges in helping consumers achieve iron balance. Glanbia Nutritionals’ Bioferrin lactoferrin provides a superior way for your customers to get the iron they need without the gut ache.



While there are many lactoferrin brands available to formulate your supplements with, Glanbia Nutritionals’ Bioferrin provides a superior solution. Bioferrin lactoferrin is a milk derived lactoferrin compound partially saturated with iron, giving it the capacity to bind with free iron in the intestine, transporting it so it can be absorbed. This eliminates the free iron that would cause intestinal irritation, improving the balance of iron without upsetting the stomach.

What Is Lactoferrin & How Does It Support Iron Absorption?

Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein (sugar-protein) naturally present in milk: Lacto = milk, ferrin = iron. It is a member of the transferrin family that transport iron ions. It is a natural constituent of body fluids such as saliva, breast milk and tears. Casein is the most prevalent protein in milk and comprises 80% of the total milk protein. The remaining 20% of proteins are whey proteins with lactoferrin being present at a range of 100-300 ppm.

Bioferrin_Ability Improve Iron Absorption

Lactoferrin has also been shown in clinical research to be a more bioavailable source of iron, increasing serum ferritin levels 5.8x which allows for a more efficient absorption of iron, compared to other iron sources. It has also been proven to support the body’s natural inflammatory response as measured by the IL-6 marker4.

Lactoferrin is a first-line defense multi-functional protein that possesses a more bioavailable source of iron as compared to ferrous sulphate5. It has a greater ability to bind iron than other transferrins and is the only one capable of binding iron over wide pH range6. Lactoferrin binds the iron already present in the body, helping the body utilize and absorb it more efficiently. This removes the need to add additional non-native sources of iron, allowing the body to receive the right balance of iron without the stomach and intestinal discomfort.

Supplement makers now have the ability to meet a growing consumer need by formulating an iron supplement that is more easily absorbed and better tolerated with Glanbia Nutritionals’ Bioferrin.


At Glanbia Nutritionals we develop innovative ingredients that build better nutrition for people everywhere. See what’s possible. Just add Glanbia.


1. World Health Organization (2016). Micronutrient Deficiencies. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ida/en/
2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-912-iron.aspx
3. Johnsen, Survey: Patients have hard time tolerating iron supplements, 2013
4. (Rezk, Dawood, Abo-Elnasr, Halaby, & Marawan, 2015), (Rezk, Kandil, Dawood, , Shaheen, & Allam, 2015), (Nappi, et al., 2009), (Paesano, et al., 2010), (Paesano, et al., 2014)
5. Paesano et al; Biometals. 2010 Jun;23(3):411-7
6. Aisen & Leibman; Biochim Biophys Acta 1972;257:314–23

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