by Donald Henderson, MD, MPH

California gastroenterologist Donald Henderson, MD, MPH, is considered a world expert in gastrointestinal disease and the relationship of GI health and chronic disease. He is a graduate of Howard University, University of Florida Medical School and interned at the Harvard School of Medicine Hospital. The following excerpts and paraphrases from Dr. Henderson' book, co-authored with Debora Mitchell, Colostrum: Nature's Healing Miracle assure consumers of the safety and efficacy of bovine colostrum with liposomal delivery.

Safety

Concerning the safety of bovine colostrum with liposomal delivery as a nutritional supplement, pharmaceutical-grade bovine colostrum is safe for human consumption. Unlike veterinary-grade colostrum, which is fed to farm animals, pharmaceutical-grade colostrum is subject to strict processing standards. When dairy cows are milked, it is not uncommon for feces to splash onto the cows' udders. To avoid any bacterial contamination, pharmaceutical-grade colostrum is flash pasteurized to kill any of these bacteria. After the colostrum has been processed, it is again tested for microbiological contaminants and issued a certificate of analysis (COA). COAs routinely test for yeast, mold, coliforms, E. coli, and salmonella which if elevated, could potentially make consumers ill. Only colostrum with acceptable COAs are allowed to be sold to the public.

As with all supplements, the source of the raw materials impacts safety. Producing a superior product means starting with a superior source. For colostrum with liposomal delivery, cows should be pasture-raised because this allows for maximum antibody content. When cows graze in pasture, they are exposed to a great variety of naturally occurring disease-causing organisms that are normally present in the soil. The cows inhale and eat these organisms by virtue of putting their snouts in the soil. This allows them to develop natural immunity, which is then passed on in their colostrum.

Cows that provide colostrum should not be supplemented with rBST, a synthetic growth hormone that some farmers use to increase milk production. They should also not be given routine antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (i.e., the cow has a life-threatening bacterial infection), much in the same way that humans should not routinely be given antibiotics for infections that do not respond to antibiotics. By keeping the growth hormones and antibiotics out, the colostrum is more effective for humans.

Bovine colostrum is not species-specific which means that it can be consumed safely by every mammal, including humans. So, in a sense, cows are universal donors of colostrum. As a testament to its safety, bovine colostrum (and milk) has been consumed for thousands of years. It does not interact with drugs, food, or other supplements. It is a superfood, not a drug, although some drugs have been made from the bioactive substances identified in colostrum.

Colostrum does not have side effects per say, but consistent use does increase the surface area in the bowel. This can result in an increase in the absorption of certain oral medications and/or dietary supplements. A prescribing physician may need to adjust a medication dosage if this is the case.

Effectiveness

Regarding the effectiveness of bovine colostrum with liposomal delivery, again, it the source that makes a difference. Bovine colostrum is known to contain high levels of immunoglobulins (antibodies) which are important bioactive components for immunity. IgG is considered to be the body's most important immunoglobulin because it is active against so many different disease-causing organisms and toxins. In fact, the IgG in bovine colostrum is forty times higher than what is in human colostrum. Synthetic IgG is utilized in patients who suffer from serious gut infections that cause infectious diarrhea, as well as other chronic conditions such as anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, neutropenia, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Other immunoglobulins in lesser quantities include IgA, IgD, IgE, and IgM. As a whole, the immunoglobulins are critically important because (1) bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and (2) new viruses are emerging and/or mutating faster than vaccines can be developed to combat them. Furthermore, as bacterial and viral infections are being implicated in more diseases, such as peptic ulcers, heart disease, and cancer, it is vitally important that we have more potent, natural and effective means to combat illness.

Cows continually "update" their antibodies each time a new calf is birthed, so regular colostrum consumption benefits humans by reducing the need for antibiotics and by enhancing the immune system's ability to defend against pathogens. Colostrum also contains immune-modulating bioactives such as lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and lysozyme that have the ability to neutralize viral and bacterial microbes. Colostrum polypeptides, or proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs), help stimulate the immune system to be more effective. Conversely, regular or unnecessary use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistance and imbalance of the gut microbiome.

Aside from the immune-modulating bioactives, colostrum with liposomal delivery contains growth factors (hormones) which improve the integrity of the gut lining and stimulate repair and regeneration of nearly every type of cell and tissue in the body. Leaky gut is a prevalent condition which requires a consistent supply of skin growth factors (epithelial and epidermal growth factors) to heal the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent microbes, undigested food proteins, and environmental toxins from crossing over into the bloodstream and attacking otherwise healthy tissues. Maintaining the tight junctions between the cells comprising the gut wall is critical to optimal health.

Because the medical community has now recognized the connection between chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions, it's more important than ever to address the problem of leaky gut. Repairing the mucosal lining of the G.I. tract is step one; this curtails the dumping of toxins into the bloodstream and allows to immune system to return to a more balanced state. The body can then begin healing itself – regenerating new cells in the tissues and organs that were damaged by the ongoing inflammation. Insulin-like growth factors and transforming growth factors in colostrum are suited to just this function of assisting in the rebuilding and regenerating healthy cells throughout the body.

Because the bowel is considered the "center of health," it's important to treat it with the utmost care. Nearly 80% of all disease-causing microbes enter the body through or attached to mucosal surfaces (nasal passages, lungs, gastrointestinal tract); the G.I. tract just happens to be the largest of the mucosal surfaces where most microbes enter. Thus, when colostrum is on-board, infections are met with the wide variety of bioactives ready to inactivate them, or at least, slow their replication and prevent them from getting into the bloodstream.

As a gastroenterologist, I've had good health outcomes in patients that I've recommended take colostrum with liposomal delivery on a daily basis. Of course, lifestyle modifications are essential; avoiding gut-irritating medications, painkillers, antibiotics, glyphosate-contaminated foods, pesticide-laden foods, GMOs, processed and fast foods, high sugar foods, excessive alcohol, environmental toxins, and air pollution.

As for the type of bovine colostrum supplement I recommend to patients, it must be colostrum with liposomal delivery. Liposomal delivery, or "LD" is a protective delivery mechanism that is essential to colostrum's efficacy. Without LD, harsh stomach acids will digest and inactivate the bioactive components, but with LD, these bioactives will survive the digestive transit and be delivered to wherever the body needs them. Also, colostrum supplementation is not an "every now and again" choice. In today's world, our bodies are in a state of perpetual assault and so, real health benefits come from daily colostrum use.