About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

Font : A-A+

  • Milk protein can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
  • Lactoferrin is the milk protein that brings relief to millions of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can reduce the side affects by supplementing a protein called lactoferrin, reveals a new study.

Patients undergoing cancer treatment confront a number of well-documented side effects.


Chemotherapy and other cancer therapies can wreak havoc on the taste buds and olfactory senses, depriving recipients of the intricate interplay between taste and smell that is critical to grasping flavors and enjoying foods.

Over time, taste and smell abnormalities (TSA) can lead to a loss of appetite and anorexic behaviors, compromising patients' ability to recuperate from the disease.

In a new paper published in the journal Food & Function, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers Susan Duncan and Aili Wang investigated the feasibility of lactoferrin, a highly bioactive protein found in saliva and milk, as a treatment for TSA. Their findings could bring relief to millions of patients undergoing cancer treatment.

"The underlying molecular mechanisms of TSA are not well-understood," said Duncan, associate director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and a professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology.

"The prevailing symptom described by patients undergoing chemotherapy is a persistent metallic flavor or aftertaste, with or without food intake. This can last for hours, weeks, or even months after the completion of treatments."

As a consequence, cancer patients suffer poor appetite, weight loss, depression, and diminished nutrition, all of which are detrimental to recovery. Although TSA is widespread and a frequent complaint of cancer patients, until now, there have been no established therapies that reliably prevent or treat this problem.

"Our research shows that daily lactoferrin supplementation elicits changes in the salivary protein profiles in cancer patients - changes that may be influential in helping to protect taste buds and odor perception," said Duncan.

"By suggesting lactoferrin as a dietary supplement, we can reduce TSA for many patients, restoring their ability to enjoy foods during a time in which nutrition can play a key role in their recovery. This research could help us develop TSA-targeted biomarkers and strategies for improving quality of life during chemotherapy. Cancer patients and their supporting family and friends may again find comfort in enjoying a meal together. "

The transdisciplinary team, including William Ray, Department of Biochemistry; Andrea Dietrich, of the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering; and Glenn Lesser, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, previously identified the role of lactoferrin, a specific milk protein, in diminishing the metallic flavor stimulated by chemotherapy medications.

The substance is well-known as a first-line defense, aiding the body's immune response, but little is known about its ability to impact salivary proteins. Their most recent study builds on the previous body of work through the application of lactoferrin supplements in treating taste and smell abnormalities.

The team's findings will make it possible for cancer patients to taste foods properly and to enjoy a healthier appetite, enabling more optimal nutrition during a critical period of recovery.

Lactoferrin supplementation also enhances the expression of salivary immune proteins, which may help reduce oxidative stress and resulting side effects. Oral infections, such as thrush, also may be diminished.

Source: Eurekalert

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Hannah Joy. (2018, September 27). Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects . Medindia. Retrieved on May 24, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/milk-protein-helps-reduce-chemotherapy-side-effects-182759-1.htm.

  • MLA

    Hannah Joy. "Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects ". Medindia. May 24, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/milk-protein-helps-reduce-chemotherapy-side-effects-182759-1.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Hannah Joy. "Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects ". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/milk-protein-helps-reduce-chemotherapy-side-effects-182759-1.htm. (accessed May 24, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Hannah Joy. 2021. Milk Protein Helps Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects . Medindia, viewed May 24, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/milk-protein-helps-reduce-chemotherapy-side-effects-182759-1.htm.


News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Can Weight Loss be Achieved by Drinking Water?
Can Exercise Counts Boost Your Life Counts? 
Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices: FDA Sounds Alarm
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Pasteurization of milk Types of Milk Why Do We Eat - Nutrition Facts Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Hodgkins Lymphoma Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Chemotherapy Chemotherapy Drugs Types of Food Allergies 

Most Popular on Medindia

Daily Calorie Requirements Accident and Trauma Care Drug Side Effects Calculator Sanatogen Blood - Sugar Chart Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Selfie Addiction Calculator Post-Nasal Drip Iron Intake Calculator Drug - Food Interactions

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use