Colostrum is the “first food of life,” and it helps promote newborn growth and development. All mammalian mothers produce colostrum in the first few days before and after the birth of their young. Colostrum contains a plethora of powerful substances that ensure these newborns can get the nutrients they need to fight off disease and infection while helping to mature the gastrointestinal tract. Animal babies will die if they do not receive colostrum. Human babies can survive without colostrum, but they are generally at a developmental disadvantage and are more susceptible to infectious illnesses in comparison to those who receive colostrum.
Although many people link colostrum exclusively to newborn growth and development, it is important to note that the benefits of bovine colostrum supplementation extend to individuals young and old. In fact, bovine colostrum contains many essential nutrients that help people shut down intestinal permeability, the root cause of most autoimmune conditions and allergies, as well as prevent and mitigate infection.
Intestinal permeability, also referred to as a leaky gut, results in larger-than-average spaces between the cells in the gut wall. The normally tight junctions between the cells loosen and become “less tight.” Of note, the gut wall is only ONE cell thick, so it’s easy to understand how easily the gut can become leaky. When these spaces form, they enable undigested food particles, viruses, bacteria, fungi, chemicals, and other toxic materials to enter the bloodstream. As a result, these toxic materials can cause inflammation within the body when the immune system reacts to these “foreign” substances.
Ultimately, colostrum helps heal a leaky gut, thanks in large part to its vast array of immune-modulating components and growth factors. Some immune-modulating components destroy pathogenic gut bacteria that otherwise “eats away” at the gut wall. This process allows the body to naturally eliminate the pathogenic bacteria through a bowel movement. Other components make the immune system more effective at doing the job it was intended to do – keep us free from infection. Growth factors restore “tightness” to the cellular junctions and prevent substances from crossing over into the bloodstream. And once a leaky gut is healed, the body can work normally to repair tissue that may have been damaged by years or decades of leaky gut and widespread inflammation.
The powerful components in colostrum can make a world of difference for men, women, children, and even pets. Now, let’s take a look at the key components found in colostrum, as well as how these components support optimal gut and immune health.
Colostrum contains a variety of components that help boost, balance, and maintain the immune function, such as:
- Cytokines: Colostrum features interleukins, interferon, and lymphokines, chemicals that are involved in intercellular communication, antiviral and anti-tumor activity, and regulation and intensity of immune response. Cytokines help increase T-cell activity and drive production of immunoglobulins. In particular, the interleukin-10 in colostrum contains a potent anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to have a significant pain-relieving effect.
- Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins refer to proteins with sugar attached to them. They help safeguard the immune and growth factors in colostrum against destruction by the digestive juices in the stomach and intestinal tract.
- Immunoglobulins/Antibodies: Colostrum is rich in immunoglobulins, antibodies that help neutralize pathogenic bacteria and viruses. High-quality colostrum contains at least 18% immunoglobulins, and these antibodies help the immune system combat viral infections, bacterial infections, allergies, fungi, and yeast. Colostrum also contains specific antibodies that help the body fight off the effects of E. coli, salmonella, and other food-borne pathogens.
- Lactalbumin: Commonly referred to as “whey protein,” lactalbumin is found in mammalian milk. Lactalbumin possesses antiviral, anti-apoptotic, and anti-tumor properties and helps improve immune response. Research shows that lactalbumin helps the body mitigate the effects of cancer and viruses. Lactalbumin also may help increase the brain’s serotonin activity, reduce cortisol concentration, and improve a person’s mood.
- Lactoferrin: As an iron-binding protein with antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, lactoferrin has been used to help treat diseases such as cancer, HIV, and herpes. When lactoferrin binds to iron, it takes away the iron that pathogens would otherwise use to help replicate themselves.
- Lysozyme: Lysozyme is an antimicrobial enzyme that is capable of breaking the chemical bonds that form the outer cell wall of bacteria. It helps protect the body against bacterial infections and eliminates bacteria on contact.
- Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs): Also known as “colostrinin,” PRPs help manage the immune response by either turning up an underactive immune system or turning down an overactive one. They help regulate the thymus gland (the body’s central command for the immune system).
Colostrum’s immune-modulating components have been shown to help people overcome the effects of leaky gut syndrome (LGS). They help promote the re-colonization of the bowel by friendly bacteria to assist in food digestion, eliminate waste, produce B vitamins, and minimize the danger of gut-based infections.
Since the antibodies in colostrum are so important to infection prevention and control, it’s worth taking a more detailed look at what they are and what they do. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system. They typically form in response to antigens, foreign substances that can otherwise damage immune function. Antibodies will recognize antigens, latch on to them, and remove them from the body. By doing so, antibodies help reduce the risk of disease-causing organisms from entering the bloodstream (via a leaky gut).
Antibodies also provide local protection of the GI tract from gut infections, specifically enteric infectious diseases. Studies have revealed various bovine colostrum antibodies may be effective to combat both enteropathic and enterotoxic E. coli, Cryptosporidium parvum, rotavirus, and Shigella flexneri. In many parts of the developing world, gut-based infections are cause of death due to massive diarrhea and dehydration. Also, research indicates a high percentage of the antibodies and immunoglobulins present in colostrum remain in the intestinal tract and attack disease-causing organisms before they can enter the bloodstream. The remaining antibodies are absorbed by the body and distributed throughout it to assist in internal defense processes. This combination of actions helps make colostrum effective as a natural oral supplement, and may reduce the need for dangerous oral antibiotics.
Growth Factors in Bovine Colostrum
Studies have indicated that the growth factors in bovine colostrum are virtually identical to those found in human colostrum. Bovine colostrum’s growth factors have been shown to support normal growth, as well as help regenerate and accelerate the repair of aged or injured muscle, skin collagen, bone, cartilage, and nerve tissues.
The growth factors in bovine colostrum include:
- Epithelial Growth Factor (EGF): EGF plays a key role in helping people protect and maintain the skin and stimulate tissue repair and skin growth.
- Insulin-Like Growth Factors (IGF-I and IGF-II): IGF-I and IGF-II are the most prominent growth factors in colostrum and affect how the body uses fat, protein, and sugar. IGF-I has been shown to promote protein synthesis, leading to an increase in muscle mass and
a decrease in fat tissue. Furthermore, IGF-I has been proven to stimulate the repair and growth of DNA and RNA, making it a powerful anti-aging substance.
- Platelet-Derived Growth Factor (PDGF): PDGF helps with cell division in connective tissue, smooth muscle, and fibroblasts and promotes neuron survival and regeneration.
- Transforming Growth Factors A & B (TGF A & TGF B): TGF stimulates the proliferation of cells in connective tissue and supports bone and cartilage development. It also helps repair tissue and supports the growth and development of the gut lining.
Additionally, bovine colostrum’s growth factors help stimulate the body to burn fat for fuel instead of the body’s own muscle tissue in times of fasting (diet), leading to the growth and development of lean muscle. These growth factors can even be used as a topical application to aid in the healing of burns and injuries and rejuvenate the skin.
Today, Colostrum-LD® represents a top choice among powdered bovine colostrum supplements Not only does it contain verified quantities of the most health-enhancing components (immune-modulators and growth factors), Colostrum-LD® is the only clinically proven substance that helps combat LGS. It also contains a liposomal delivery (LD) system that helps make colostrum’s healing components more bioavailable than other colostrum products.
When it comes to colostrum supplementation, it pays to choose a proven product. Colostrum-LD® has 25 years of research behind it, and offers a superior choice for people of all ages. Colostrum-LD helps people get the nutrients they need to optimize immune function, heal the GI and stomach lining, eliminate harmful pathogens, and much more.