A new study, published in the journal Food & Function, suggests that lactoferrin, a protein found in milk, could be used as a treatment of taste and smell disorders in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Previously, a team of researchers identified the role of lactoferrin 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 its ability to impact salivary proteins stays little-studied. The most recent study builds on the previous body of work through the application of lactoferrin supplements in treating taste and smell abnormalities.
Researcher Susan Duncan says: “By suggesting lactoferrin as a dietary supplement, we can reduce taste and smell abnormalities (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 the quality of life during chemotherapy. Cancer patients and their supporting family and friends may again find comfort in enjoying a meal together.”