Let’s talk immunity with experts

Let’s talk immunity with expert Laurien Ulfman, PhD. Laurien is a Senior Researcher at FrieslandCampina, managing R&D projects through in vitro and in vivo trials and investigations. She discusses the role of nutrition when it comes to fighting infections in early life.

Support fighting infection with nutrition

From the day they are born, babies can be susceptible to a number of viruses and infections which can have both short-term and long-term health implications. A robust immune system plays a vital role in protecting young children from illness.

In this video, Laurien Ulfman, PhD discusses the various infections that commonly occur in young children. She highlights how a child’s immune system is set up from the early stages of life, and how proteins such as lactoferrin and immunoglobulins – present in human breast milk – are crucial to building and maintaining immunity.

Discover how FrieslandCampina Ingredients can help support immunity in infants:


Vivinal® Lactoferrin

Can strengthen immunity by reducing the risk of infections14-20and may play an important role in immune modulation17,18



Vivinal® MFGM

Supports the development of the immune system via its potential role in gut maturation9,10,12, gut barrier function8,11 and by reducing the risk of infections15-18


About Laurien Ulfman

Laurien Ulfman, PhD is a Senior Researcher at FrieslandCampina, leading R&D projects to substantiate innovative products with the help of in vitro and in vivo trials. With an academic background in medical biology and a PhD in respiratory medicine from UMC Utrecht (Netherlands), she went on to be a postdoctoral fellow in this subject and, in 2006, became Assistant Professor Respiratory Medicine at UMC Utrecht. In 2011, Laurien joined the team at FrieslandCampina to become Senior Researcher in Immunology.

Laurien has co-authored over forty publications in immunity, respiratory infection and infant nutrition.


  1. Donovan, Sharon M. 2016. “The Role of Lactoferrin in Gastrointestinal and Immune Development and Function: A Preclinical Perspective.” Journal of Pediatrics 173. Elsevier Inc.: S16–28. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.072.
  2. Manzoni, P. Clinical Benefits of Lactoferrin for Infants and Children. Journal of Pediatrics 173. Elsevier Inc.: S43–S52 (2016).
  3. Chen, K. et al. Effect of bovine lactoferrin from iron-fortified formulas on diarrhea and respiratory tract infections of weaned infants in a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition 32, 222–227 (2016)
  4. King, J. C. et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study of bovine lactoferrin supplementation in bottle-fed infants. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 44, 245–251 (2007).
  5. Gao, Y. et al. Enteral Lactoferrin Supplementation for Preventing Sepsis and Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Infants : A MetaAnalysis With Trial Sequential Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front. Pharmacol. 11, 1186 (2020).
  6. Tarnow-Mordi, William O., Mohamed E. Abdel-Latif, Andrew Martin, Mohan Pammi, Kristy Robledo, Paolo Manzoni, David Osborn, et al. 2020. “The Effect of Lactoferrin Supplementation on Death or Major Morbidity in Very Low Birthweight Infants (LIFT): A Multicentre, Double-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial.” The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health 4 (6): 444–54.
  7. Johnston, W. H. et al. Growth and tolerance of formula with lactoferrin in infants through one year of age: double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. BMC Pediatr. 15, 173 (2015).
  8. Anderson RC, MacGibbon AKH, Haggarty N, et al (2018) Bovine dairy complex lipids improve in vitro measures of small intestinal epithelial barrier integrity. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 5;13(1):e0190839.
  9. Motouri M, Matsuyama H, Yamamura J, et al (2003) Milk sphingomyelin accelerates enzymatic and morphological maturation of the intestine in artificially reared rats. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Feb;36(2):241-7
  10. Lee H, Zavaleta N, Chen S-Y, et al (2018) Effect of bovine milk fat globule membranes as a complementary food on the serum metabolome and immune markers of 6-11-month-old Peruvian infants. npj Sci Food 2:6.
  11. Snow DR, Ward RE, Olsen a, et al (2011) Membrane-rich milk fat diet provides protection against gastrointestinal leakiness in mice treated with lipopolysaccharide. J Dairy Sci 94:2201–2212.
  12. Bhinder G, Allaire JM, Garcia C, et al (2017) Milk Fat Globule Membrane Supplementation in Formula Modulates the Neonatal Gut Microbiome and Normalizes Intestinal Development. Sci Rep 7:45274.
  13. Zavaleta, N. et al. Efficacy of an MFGM-enriched complementary food in diarrhea, anemia, and micronutrient status in infants. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 53, 561–568 (2011).
  14. Timby, N. et al. Infections in infants fed formula supplemented with bovine milk fat globule membranes. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 60, 384–389 (2015).
  15. Li F, Wu SS, Berseth CL, et al (2019) Improved Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Associated with Bovine Milk Fat Globule Membrane and Lactoferrin in Infant Formula: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Pediatr 215:24-31.e8.
  16. Veereman-Wauters, G. et al. Milk fat globule membrane (INPULSE) enriched formula milk decreases febrile episodes and may improve behavioral regulation in young children. Nutrition 28, 749–752 (2012).
  17. Drago-Serrano, M., Campos-Rodríguez, R., Carrero, J. & de la Garza, M. Lactoferrin: Balancing Ups and Downs of Inflammation Due to Microbial Infections. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 18, 501 (2017).
  18. Kruzel, M. L., Zimecki, M. & Actor, J. K. Lactoferrin in a context of inflammation-induced pathology. Frontiers in Immunology 8, (2017).

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