Just before giving birth and for about 3 days after, female mammals produce colostrum, a fluid that is secreted with mother’s milk. Colostrurn provides the infant with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that enhance digestion and cellular metabolism. Most importantly, it contains numerous immune factors, which foster the development of a strong immune system, and antibodies, which protect the infant against specific pathogens. The mother’s antibodies for measles, pertussis, mumps, and other diseases that she contacted before her pregnancy are also in her beast milk. These antibodies protect the infant from becoming seriously ill when exposed to these microbes. For some reason, antibodies that result from vaccinations do not seem to transfer to the infant.
Bovine colostrum, like human colostrum, contains a bounty of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and immune factors, making it a beneficial supplement for adults as well as for babies. The immune factors, which include factors that boost an underactive immune system or suppress an over-active one, transfer between species. Studies have found that supplemental colostrum is helpful in protecting the body from pathogens that enter or occur in the digestive tract. In the early 1950’s, Dr. Albert Sabin recommended bovine colostrum for children who were susceptible to catching polio. More recently, animal studies have indicated that colostrum can also help suppress inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory properties may make it useful for treating arthritis, lupus, allergies, asthma, MS, HIV, and some cancers.
Bovine colostrum supplements are made from 5 gallons of the approximately 9 gallons of colostrum produced by a cow in the first 36 hours after giving birth. The supplements are available as powder, capsules, tablets, chewable lozenges and liquids. Most require refrigeration. Supplements that have whey protein added usually have lower levels of immunoglobulins and other immune-enhancing factors.
Colostrum:Nature’s Gift to the Immune System by Beth M. Ley. BL Publications, 21 Donatello, Aliso Viejo CA 92656.
[from "Shorts...briefed by Jule Klotter]
[an excerpt from the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Jan 1998.