Colostrum is a thick yellow fluid, rich in protein, growth factors, and immune factors. It is secreted by the mammary glands of all female mammals during the first few days of lactation. It is the key to activating the baby’s immune system at birth. It contains essential nutrients and protease inhibitors that keep it from being destroyed by the processes of digestion. Humans produce relatively small amounts of colostrum in the first two days after giving birth, but cows produce about 9 gallons (36 L) of colostrum. Bovine colostrum can be transferred to all other mammals and is four times richer in immune factors than human colostrum.
Autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, even HIV virus can be hugely improved by the intake of colostrum. In cases of autoimmune disease, an allergen triggers a severe allergic response that in turn damages the body’s tissues. For example, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects different parts of the nervous system through the destruction of the myelin sheaths, the membrane that protects the body’s nerves. This destruction produces any number of symptoms, including blurred vision, staggering gait, numbness, dizziness, slurred speech and even paralysis. In short, the results can be devastating.
The difficulty came in figuring out how to “turn off” the immune response that was causing the damage. In 1983, Polish researchers discovered a small protein chain called Polyprotein-rich Peptide (PRP) in colostrum. This immune factor was found to have the same ability to regulate the immune system as the hormones of the thymus gland. PRP is able to stimulate T-cell precursors to form helper T-cells, thereby promoting the immune system into action against pathogens. More impressive, however, in relation to autoimmune disease, is PRP’s ability to “turn-off” the immune system. It does this by telling the T-cell precursor to produce T-suppressor cells. These are the cells that slow down an overactive immune response, thereby stopping the attack on the body’s own tissue.
Colostrum is helpful for the Autoimmune sufferer in many ways:
- It contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds.
- It contains rejuvenating compounds that help restore the integrity of the intestinal tract, the nervous system, and other body tissues that make up organs and glands.
- It contains Proline-rich polypeptide (PRP), a hormone that regulates the thymus gland, helping to calm a hyperactive immune system or stimulate an underactive immune system.
- The PRP in colostrum has been demonstrated to reduce or eliminate the pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with allergies and autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, myasthenia gravis). These effects are related to PRP’s ability to inhibit the overproduction of lymphocytes (white blood cells) and T-cells.
- It contains cytokines and lymphokines. These are substances that regulate the body’s immune response, stimulate the production of immunoglobulins, and affect cell growth and repair.
- It helps support healthy levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, thus overcoming depression often common with chronic health issues.
- It supports overall hormonal balance. Hormonal balance plays an important role in autoimmune disorders.
Other Benefits of Colostrum
- Immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are globulin proteins that function as antibodies. They are the most plentiful immune factors found in colostrum. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) counteracts bacteria and toxins in the blood and lymphatic system; immunoglobulin M (IgM) seeks out and attaches itself to viruses in the circulatory system; immunoglobulins D and E (IgD and IdE) remove foreign substances from the bloodstream and activate allergic reactions.
- Lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a protein that transports iron to red blood cells and helps to deprive viruses and harmful bacteria of iron.
- Growth factors. The growth factors in bovine colostrum include insulin-like growth factors (IgF-1 and IgF-2), an epithelial growth factor (EgF), transforming growth factors (TgF-A and TgF-B), and a platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Growth factors stimulate normal growth as well as the healing and repair of aged or injured skin, muscle, and other tissues. In addition, growth factors help the body to burn fat instead of muscle for fuel when a person is dieting or fasting.
- Growth hormone. Growth hormone slows some of the signs of aging.
- Leukocytes. Leukocytes are white cells that stimulate the production of interferon, a protein that inhibits viruses from reproducing.
- Enzymes. Colostrum contains three enzymes that oxidize bacteria.
- Vitamins. Colostrum contains small amounts of vitamins A, B12, and E.
- Glycoproteins. Glycoproteins, or protease inhibitors, are complex proteins that protect immune factors and growth factors from being broken down by the acids in the digestive tract.
- Sulfur, a mineral that is an important building block of proteins