What Is Lactoferrin In Stool?

Are you curious to know what is lactoferrin in stool? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about lactoferrin in stool in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is lactoferrin in stool?

What Is Lactoferrin In Stool?

The human digestive system is a complex network of organs and processes, and analyzing stool samples can provide valuable insights into our gastrointestinal health. One component often studied in these samples is lactoferrin. In this blog, we’ll explore what lactoferrin in stool is, its role in assessing gastrointestinal health, and why it matters.

What Is Lactoferrin?

Lactoferrin is a multifunctional glycoprotein that belongs to the transferrin family. It is naturally found in various bodily fluids, including breast milk, tears, and saliva, but it is also present in the gastrointestinal tract. Lactoferrin plays a crucial role in the innate immune system, as it exhibits antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and iron-binding properties.

Lactoferrin In Stool: Significance And Testing

Lactoferrin testing in stool is a diagnostic tool used by healthcare professionals to assess gastrointestinal health. Elevated levels of lactoferrin in stool samples can indicate the presence of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in the intestines. This information can be valuable for diagnosing and monitoring various gastrointestinal conditions, including:

  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Elevated lactoferrin levels in stool can serve as an indicator of active inflammation in IBD patients.
  2. Infectious Gastroenteritis: Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. Lactoferrin testing can help differentiate between infectious and non-infectious causes of gastrointestinal distress.
  3. Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Lactoferrin testing can assist in identifying the presence of blood in the stool, which may be indicative of bleeding ulcers or other gastrointestinal issues.
  4. Monitoring Treatment: Healthcare providers may use lactoferrin testing to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for gastrointestinal conditions. A decrease in lactoferrin levels over time can suggest that inflammation is subsiding.

The Testing Process

Lactoferrin testing in stool samples typically involves the following steps:

  1. Collection: A stool sample is collected from the patient and placed in a sterile container.
  2. Laboratory Analysis: The stool sample is sent to a laboratory where it undergoes analysis to measure lactoferrin levels. This can be done through various techniques, including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
  3. Interpretation: The results are interpreted by healthcare professionals. Elevated levels of lactoferrin may suggest gastrointestinal inflammation, while normal levels indicate a healthier gastrointestinal tract.


Lactoferrin in stool serves as a valuable biomarker in assessing gastrointestinal health. Its presence in stool samples can provide insights into inflammatory conditions like IBD, infectious gastroenteritis, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Lactoferrin testing aids in the diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and management of various gastrointestinal disorders, helping healthcare providers tailor their approach to individual patient needs. If you have concerns about your gastrointestinal health, consult with a healthcare professional who can recommend appropriate testing and treatment options based on your specific situation.

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What Does It Mean When Lactoferrin Is Positive In Stool?

A fecal lactoferrin test can detect intestinal inflammation. High lactoferrin levels in stool suggest that inflammation is present. This may indicate a bacterial infection or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Lactoferrin is a protein that protects the body against viruses and bacteria.

What Does Negative Lactoferrin In Stool Mean?

Fecal lactoferrin has a good diagnostic precision for separating organic and functional intestinal disease. However, a negative fecal lactoferrin test should be interpreted merely as the absence of significant neutrophilic intestinal inflammation.

Does Lactoferrin Cause Diarrhea?

Human lactoferrin that is made from specially processed rice appears to be safe for up to 14 days. Taking doses higher than 7.2 grams daily seems to increase the risk of side effects, such as skin rash, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.

What Is The Difference Between Lactoferrin And Calprotectin?

Biomarkers of inflammation in the GI tract include fecal leukocytes, lactoferrin, and calprotectin. Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein that is secreted in secondary granules predominantly from neutrophils, and calprotectin is a calcium-binding protein that is abundant within the cytosol of neutrophils.

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