Colostrum and Colostrum Plus
By Judith Cobb, MH, CI

The unsung hero of immune-establishing substances... that's colostrum.
If your mother was not drugged for your birth, and if you were lucky enough to be breast-fed, you got colostrum. Until I did the research for this article I had no idea why there was such a buzz about colostrum. Could it be as good as all the publicity makes it sound? Could this be the "fountain of youth" or the miracle┬Ł we are all looking for?



The base for Nature's Sunshine Products offering, Colostrum is that fluid, colostrum, which is produced by all female mammals for a short time after they give birth. Please note that NSP does not use human colostrum in this product. Instead, bovine colostrum is used. Research done by major universities over the past several years has shown the similarity between bovine colostrum and human colostrum to be so striking that they can be easily interchanged.

To understand the importance of colostrum, let's take a look at human colostrum. Human colostrum is generally secreted from the breasts as early as 30 weeks of pregnancy. At birth, a first-time human mother secretes between 7 ml to 123 ml. of colostrum per feeding. This lasts for the first three days. By thesixth day, colostrum is replaced by milk. (Compare the low human production to that of a cow who produces about nine gallons of colostrum in the first 36 hours after birth.) Mothers who have previously given birth and breast-fed those babies usually produce more colostrum.

Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid that is rich in carotenes. It contains more specific proteins, and less sugar, fat, and calories than the milk that will follow. Colostrum is high in sodium, potassium, and chloride.

Colostrum facilitates the establishment of the intestinal flora, specifically the bifidophilus flora, and stimulates the newborn's bowel to pass the meconium (the dark green, sticky goop that comprises the baby's first bowel movements). We also know that colostrum contains a vast amount of antibodies that protect baby against many gastrointestinal infections.

The most potent bovine colostrum is collected within the first 24 hours after birth, but should not be collected as the very first milking. To be considered high-quality, colostrum must contain at least 18% immunoglobulins.

Note from Four Winds Nutrition (treating your gastrointestinal problems)

  • If you take only colostrum without a probiotic, you will not solve your problem because it will not adhere to the gastrointestinal tract and will not protect it.
  • To solve your GI problems, combine the benefits of colostrum with probiotics such as Bifidophilus.

Colostrum

Add to cart

 

Add to cart



Immune Potential

Colostrum has been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, yeast, and fungi, and to neutralize allergens and toxins, even in wounds. It is felt that much of the action is because many of its antibodies and immunoglobulins remain intact in the intestinal tract and attack disease-causing organisms before they cause problems. Some of the antibodies are absorbed and distributed throughout the body to defend deeper tissues. There are several ways in which colostrum supports the immune system and grants protective chemistry to us.

With specific antibodies to more than 19 disease-causing pathogens including E. coli, salmonella, candida, streptococcus staphylococcus, H. pylori (the ulcer-causing bacteria), cryprosporidium , and rotavirus, colostrum has a broad antibiotic-like function.

It also contains substances that either balance the immune system or prevent invaders from taking hold.
Proline-rich polypeptide is one such substance that regulates the thymus gland by stimulating the immune system in cases where it is underactive or weakened, but can also balance an overactive system as is needed in cases of autoimmune conditions.

Lactoferrin is another enzyme in the colostrum arsenal. This enzyme binds iron and prevents microorganisms from getting the iron they need for reproduction. Lactoferrin is stimulated naturally by fever. Lactoferrin may be important in cancer, HIV, herpes, chronic fatigue, and candida albicans. Lactalbumins, also found in colostrum, are effective against many cancers and viruses.

The cytokines (interleukin 1 and 6, interferon Y and lymphokines) are involved in cell-to-cell communication and regulate the intensity of immune responses among other things.

One last family of antibodies is the lysozyme family. These defenders destroy harmful bacteria on contact.


Repair potentials

Most of the valuable components of colostrum are protein based. Our digestive tracts, stomachs specifically, are designed to break proteins down when working correctly. Colostrum contains substances that inhibit protein digestion. Its own glycoproteins (protease and trypsin inhibitors) protect the immune and growth factors from being digested and broken down into amino acids.

ColostrumResearch has shown that epithelial growth hormone, found in colostrum, stimulates tissue repair, especially bowel lining, mucous membranes, and skin, to provide us with a strong first line of defence against harmful organisms and molecules. This same hormone optimizes cellular regeneration of injured muscle, collagen, bone, cartilage, and nerve tissue, speeds healing after surgery, and prevents and heals gingivitis. Much of this is achieved with the help of transforming growth factors A andB. This is all important because our production of growth hormone begins to decline at puberty and continues to decline until about age 80 when it is usually at a negligible level.

Further research has shown that colostrum stimulates the brain to release serotonin and dopamine and prolong their reuptake while also reducing cortisol concentration. The lactalbumin can also improve moods during stress. This natural antidepressant activity may prove to be very valuable in reducing dependency on SSRI drugs like Prozac.

Colostrum even presents hope in the field of weight loss and body shape management. It stimulates the burning of stored fat for fuel, which is quite remarkable since the human body would rather burn muscle protein for fuel. It contains the most powerful growth factor in human body, IGF-1. If IGF-1 is low when you are dieting, your body will burn muscle instead of fat, therefore, taking colostrum while exercising and dieting enhances the fat burn, while other growth factors enhance lean muscle mass gain.

Nature's Sunshine Products has chosen to encapsulate rather than tablet their colostrum. The tableting process uses pressure and heat that destroy many immune and growth factor proteins. It is best to take colostrum on an empty stomach with a lot of water. Wait 20 minutes before eating anything else. If you are unable to swallow capsules then open the capsule into water and drink it down, or add it to a small amount of yogurt or applesauce. Try to avoid taking it after 3 PM as it can increase your energy.

Whenever we discuss a supplement that comes from cows, the topic of mad cow disease comes up. Rest assured that no transmission of this disease has ever been connected with colostrum. If you ever have concerns about matters like this, you can E-mail your questions to NSP's Research Department at questions@natr.com

Colostrum itself has no known drug interactions or toxicity.
Caution is advised if you are pregnant. Caution is also advised if you have dairy allergies. However, most lactose intolerant people do not have problems with colostrum. Because colostrum heals the gastrointestinal tract other prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and supplements may become more effective. Be careful and reduce dosages of medications as necessary and advised by your health care practitioner.

Some people experience healing crises (or healing events, as I prefer to call them) that are manifest by gastrointestinal symptoms, skin eruptions, rashes, and flu-like symptoms. Sometimes there may even be pain at old wound sites as healing is initiated. The choices for managing these symptoms are:
1) reduce amount of colostrum;
2) stay hydrated and
3) do some detoxifying baths.

Pets
Even your pets can benefit by taking colostrum. The same gains you hope to enjoy can be had by your pets. Simply sprinkle it on their food. The usual dose is about 1/3 capsule per 25 lbs of body weight.

Colostrum With Immune Factors

Colostrum PlusColostrum with Immune Factors is more than just colostrum. It also contains inositol hexaphosphate, maitake mushroom, shiitake mushroom, and astragalus. Colostrum Plus is an immune stimulant and is contraindicated for autoimmune disorders.

NSP's Colostrum Plus contains 25% immunoglobulins and is very high in the specific immunoglobulin IgG. This immunoglobulin protein is so critical to the human immune response that it is one of the few large proteins produced by humans that is able to cross the placenta to protect a fetus prenatally. IgG presented to a fetus in this way grants immune protection to the baby until he reaches six months of age when his own immune system can begin producing antibodies. Research has shown that bovine colostrum given to children and adults can support their immune systems in this way also. This is the single most abundant, broad sweeping, and important immunoglobulin we have.

Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) occurs naturally in wheat, rice bran, and legumes. It shows promise in stimulating the immune system, regulating blood lipids, and regulating fats within the liver. Research is also showing that it may be able to control and eliminate cancers by making cancer cells behave normally.

Maitake mushrooms, found in this formula, have many actions similar to IP6. Their healing adaptagenic properties are attributed to their high polysaccharide content. Further research has shown quick action in reducing blood pressure. Combined with their liver protecting and regenerating potentials, maitake mushrooms have encouraging possibilities as anticancer and anti-HIV therapy.

Another mushroom in this formula is shiitake. As Louise Tenney states "Research has found shiitake to be useful for many conditions such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, flu, tumors, viruses, high blood pressure, obesity, and aging." It has strong anti-tumor activity, lowers cholesterol levels, and slows the progression of AIDS.

The last ingredient in Colostrum Plus is astragalus. Yet again, we have a hugely powerful immune stimulating herb and general tonic. Studies have shown that cancer patients recovered faster and lived longer when astragalus was combined with their chemotherapy and radiation treatment.