Optimal Result: 0 - 7.3 µg/mL.

Lactoferrin is protein released by a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil. When there is inflammation in the digestive tract, neutrophils are attracted to the area and release lactoferrin, increasing the level of the protein in the stool. This test measures the level of lactoferrin in stool as a way to detect inflammation in the intestines.

Intestinal inflammation is associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and with some bacterial infections of the digestive tract, but it is not associated with many other disorders that affect bowel function and cause similar symptoms. Lactoferrin can be used to help distinguish between inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions.

IBD is a group of chronic disorders characterized by swollen and damaged tissues in the lining of the intestinal tract. The cause of IBD is not known, but these diseases are thought to be due to an autoimmune process that has been triggered by a genetic predisposition, a viral illness, and/or an environmental factor. The most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

People affected by IBD typically have flare-ups of active disease that alternate with periods of remission. During a flare-up, a person may experience frequent bouts of watery and/or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fever. Between these flare-ups, symptoms frequently subside. Many people may go through extended periods of remission between flare-ups. Lactoferrin testing can be useful in monitoring disease activity.

What does it mean if your Lactoferrin result is too high?

Lactoferrin is protein released by a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil. When there is inflammation in the digestive tract, neutrophils are attracted to the area and release lactoferrin, increasing the level of the protein in the stool. This test measures the level of lactoferrin in stool as a way to detect inflammation in the intestines.

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