Background: Several randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) have sought to determine the efficacy of bovine lactoferrin in Helicobacter pylori eradication with equivocal results.
Aim: To evaluate the effect of bovine lactoferrin supplementation in H. pylori eradication.
Methods: Electronic databases, reviews, bibliographies, abstracts and conference proceedings were searched. Included trials had to be randomized or quasi-randomized and controlled, using bovine lactoferrin in the intervention group, treating Helicobacter-infected subjects and evaluating eradication of H. pylori as an outcome.
Results: The search identified five eligible RCTs (of 169). Data were available for 682 subjects (bovine lactoferrin group-n = 316; control group-n = 366). The pooled odds ratio (five studies) for eradication by intention-to-treat analysis was 2.22 (95% CI 1.44-3.44; P = 0.0003) using the fixed effects model (FEM) and 2.24 (95% CI 1.15-4.35; P = 0.0003) using the random effects model (REM) (Cochran's Q = 6.83; P = 0.145). The pooled risk difference was 0.11 (95% CI 0.05-0.16; P = 0.0001) by FEM (Cochran's Q = 6.67; P = 0.154) and 0.10 (95% CI 0.04-0.17; P = 0.0023) by REM. There was no significant difference in incidence of adverse effects.
Conclusion: Bovine lactoferrin potentially improves H. pylori eradication rates without any impact on adverse effects, but available evidence is limited and further research is necessary to confirm the findings.