Nature’s Cocktail of Immune Factors, Growth Factors, and Protective Proteins
Colostrum is the first pre-milk substance that is produced by the mammary gland of female mammals, including humans, following the birth of the newborn. It is the first food tasted in this life by all mammals. It is a special substance that is very unlike other foods, even milk. It is loaded with immune factors, growth factors, and protective proteins as well as all the nutrients the newborn needs to survive. The immune factors in it provide the immunity necessary to ward off potentially fatal infections until the newborn’s own immune system can get up to speed, and the growth factors help complete the development of the gut, which is not fully developed at the time of birth.
Mankind has known for thousands of years the benefits of colostrum to both the newborn as well as people of all ages. Strangely enough, however, it is not human colostrum that holds the greatest benefit for humans beyond the newborn stage but bovine (cow) colostrum. This is due to a difference in the placentas of cows and humans.
Human Colostrum vs Bovine Colostrum
The human placenta allows the passage of immunoglobulin G (IgG), which is responsible for establishing systemic immunity, from mother to fetus. This means that a human baby is born with an immune system that is already primed and ready to begin its work defending the newborn against infection. The placenta of the cow, however, does not allow the passage of IgG from mother to fetus. Therefore when the calf is born it is completely unprotected from infection and needs the IgG in the mother’s colostrum to survive. Thus bovine colostrum contains predominantly IgG (over 85% of total immunoglobulin) while human colostrum contains predominantly immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is designed for local immunity and is intended to help the newborn’s immune system handle infections locally in the gut rather than establish systemic immunity. IgG, because it can pass immunity to a specific pathogen (disease-causing microorganism) from one individual to another, is therefore of much more benefit to humans past the stage of infancy. This is why bovine colostrum is much better for humans. It is also produced in great quantities by the mother cow far exceeding the needs of the calf.
Colostrum is a Multi-Functional Complex of Bio-Active Ingredients
For the consumer seeking a nutritional supplement that will help maintain his or her health, it is important to remember that colostrum is a multi-functional complex of bioactive ingredients produced by mammals for mammals (which means you). If you walk into a natural foods store and examine the products on the shelves, nearly all are derived from plants, and generally speaking, most have only one function. It is also important to remember that most plant-derived supplements or herbs have little if any scientific research to back up their health claims. While many thousands of scientific studies from all around the world and virtually every leading research institution have been done on the health benefits of colostrum and its many ingredients.
Colostrum is so complex that we are only beginning to understand how it all works together. New components are still being identified, and the mechanisms of action of known components are still being worked out. The one thing that can be said with certainty is that there is no simple replacement for colostrum. It does a multitude of tasks, and the individual components work together in a synergy that no combination of plant-derived components could ever simulate.
Peptide Immunotherapy: Health Maintenance with Colostrum & Proline-rich Polypeptides (PRPs)
~By Andrew M. Keech, PhD
Experience the healing effects of colostrum for yourself.
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