Milk ribonuclease-enriched lactoferrin induces positive effects on bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women

Osteoporos Int. 2009 Sep;20(9):1603-11. doi: 10.1007/s00198-009-0839-8. Epub 2009 Jan 27.


Current treatments for postmenopausal osteoporosis suffer from side effects. Safe and natural milk proteins, ribonuclease, and lactoferrin promote formation of new capillaries and bone formation. A ribonuclease-enriched lactoferrin supplement studied here, demonstrates significant reduction in resorption and increase in formation, towards restoring the balance of bone turnover within 6 months.

Introduction: Osteoporosis, a major health issue among postmenopausal women, causes increased bone resorption and reduced bone formation. A reduction in angiogenesis could also contribute to this imbalance. Current treatments such as hormone replacement therapy and bisphosphonates have drawbacks of severe side effects. Milk ribonuclease (RNase) is known to promote angiogenesis and lactoferrin (LF) to stimulate bone formation by osteoblasts. We examine the effect of ribonuclease-enriched lactoferrin supplement on the bone health of postmenopausal women.

Methods: A total of 38 healthy, postmenopausal women, aged 45 to 60 years were randomized into placebo or RNAse-enriched-LF (R-ELF) supplement groups. The bone health status was monitored by assessing bone resorption markers, serum N-telopeptides (NTx), and urine deoxypyridinoline (Dpd) crosslinks and serum bone formation markers, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and osteocalcin (OC).

Results: R-ELF supplementation demonstrated a decrease in urine Dpd levels by 14% (19% increase for placebo) and serum NTx maintained at 24% of the baseline (41% for placebo), while serum BAP and OC levels showed a 45% and 16% elevation (25% and 5% for placebo).

Conclusions: R-ELF supplementation demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in bone resorption and increase in osteoblastic bone formation, to restore the balance of bone turnover within a short period.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone Resorption
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Collagen Type I / blood
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk*
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Osteocalcin / therapeutic use*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Peptides / blood
  • Postmenopause / metabolism
  • Ribonucleases / therapeutic use*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Collagen Type I
  • Peptides
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Osteocalcin
  • deoxypyridinoline
  • Ribonucleases
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Lactoferrin