Introduction: Colostrum is the most sophisticated and powerful dietary supplement ever conceived by man or, as in this case, God. Colostrum contains a variety of constituents that affect cells all over the body in many different ways and improve the function of many systems. The benefits would seem almost too good to be true if we didn’t know nature’s purpose and if they had not also been demonstrated in scientific studies.
Benefits that have long been appreciated
Colostrum boosts many aspects of the immune system. This benefit alone would make colostrum worth taking because our immune system not only keeps us from coming down with infectious diseases (e.g. from bacteria, viruses and fungus) but it also protects us from cancer.
Reduces allergies, e.g. from pollen
Gives athletes an edge in endurance and muscle-building
Contains growth factors that can help repair damage caused by disease or injury
Other fundamental effects demonstrated in studies with a 6-hour brand
As you will see below, all colostrum products are far from equal. I mention PerCoBa brand by name here because it is superior to most and it is the one used in the studies referenced. The same effects cannot be assured with less potent brands.
Helps reduce inflammation.
Reduces high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Aids healthy blood sugar levels.
Boosts crucial detoxifying antioxidants and enzymes. For example, the powerful detoxifier Glutathione is raised as much as 400% in 2 hours. Similar dramatic boosts are seen in SOD, catalase and ascorbates (vitamin C).
Improves calcium absorption and bone mineral density.
Improves iron absorption (as well as zinc and phosphorus and we can speculate other minerals as well).
Benefits friendly bacteria (probiotics) which help crowd out yeasts among other functions. I recommend colostrum for leaky gut syndrome. It can heal damaged tissues from both on the surface of the mucous membranes and from inside the tissues.
Research on colostrum has shown benefit for these specific conditions:
More effective at prevention of flu than vaccines
Liver: Hepatitis C and cirrhosis
Reduces several parameters of alcohol-induced damage to gut and kidneys.
Digestive: Irritable bowel syndrome, watery diarrhea in infants, antibiotic-resistant food-poisoning bacteria
Dramatically helped very low birth weight infants reach normal weight.
Has a beneficial effect on TNF-a which is involved in tumor control.
Because colostrum makes the immune system work smarter, it doesn’t aggravate autoimmune conditions and, in fact, there are many reports of significant improvement. That moderating effect is likely due to the presence in colostrum of PRP (proline-rich peptide, a hormone-like small protein that keeps the body from over reacting to an assault).
Improves adrenal function, even among those stricken with Addison’s disease (chronic under functioning of the adrenal gland).
Boosts fat-burning by regulating metabolism via GH & IGF-1. (Its leptins may also reduce appetite.)
Promotes age-delaying effects such as tighter skin (reduction of wrinkles) and more youthful energy. More importantly, colostrum improves the re-growth of cells and organs that normally decrease in size with age. Animal studies show these improvements are not all in our imaginations!
Colostrum works to balance your whole body not by simply elevating one system but by synergistically improving all of them. We all have good genes and those with the potential to create disease. However, our diet, lifestyle and supplements can turn those genes on or off. Colostrum is one of the ways you can positively affect gene expression.
Colostrum is the first fluid mammals feed their newborns after birth. It is golden—not white. It is not milk but rather a complex of protective, guiding and stimulating substances. Even from a quick glance at the list of constituents, you can imagine that no laboratory is ever going to duplicate this wonder of nature. The source is from dairy cows, but our human cell functions, immune systems, hormones, enzymes and other functions as cytokine and neurological functions are exactly the same. The varied bioactive compounds in colostrum serve to regulate and stimulate all the infant’s immature systems and prepare it for the challenges of the real world. (Colostrum is one of many reasons that breast feeding is so much superior to bottle feeding.)
Many references incorrectly say that colostrum is formed late in pregnancy “and the first few days after birth.” At least in the case of colostrum from cows, which is the source of colostrum for supplements, the mother stops making colostrum at the moment of birth and begins to reabsorb the colostrum almost immediately thereafter. Therefore, the first milking after the birth (which typically takes place within 6 hours) removes 80% of the colostrum that will be available. The small amount of colostrum that remains and hasn’t been reabsorbed becomes diluted with milk and is dubbed “transitional milk”. That is fine for the calf but not very beneficial as a supplement to humans because the amount of colostrum obtained in each successive milking is less and the amount of potentially allergy-producing lactose and casein increases dramatically.
Making sure a colostrum brand is the real thing
As described in the paragraph above, the time when the colostrum is collected is key. The best product will only be collected only in the very first milking within about 6 hours after birth of the calf. Those products utilizing the cheaper but inferior transitional milk are actually not really true colostrum. (Caution, their labels may say “first milking colostrum” but they have corrupted the definition.) These less useful products must typically be altered in the laboratory in some way in order to boost some properties and lower others to more closely resemble the real thing. I believe we should protect the balance nature intended; not manipulate constituents except to gently concentrate it by removing water. If a company tries to tell you that balance isn’t important, just think what would happen if you doubled the liquid in a cake recipe!
For maximum strength the source should only be mature cows that have given birth more than once. The donors should also receive superior nutrition and excellent prenatal care. Of course, modern high-tech production procedures should assure purity, stability and absence of any residues of antibiotics, agricultural hormones, heavy metals, pesticides and restricted proteins.
Marketing types periodically tout exotic foreign raw material sources but those countries do not provide the most reliable products. The safest most potent colostrum comes from Grade A American dairies—ideally from small family farms, not the giant factory-like farms.
The resulting product should be proven in scientific studies. The only colostrum I know of that meets all those criteria is PerCoBa. It has 150% the levels of bioactive substances and benefits of the next leading brand. Analysis in university tests proves that my enthusiasm is justified.
How to use colostrum and other FAQ’s
What form to take? When colostrum is held in the mouth, various sensory, electrical, chemical and immune receptors in the mucous membranes are activated. That immediately triggers normalizing and regulating actions. There are also many salivary secretions, hormones and enzymes secreted during the time the colostrum in the mouth. That provides for a much faster and better response to the colostrum and protection of the material so that it is not degraded with stomach acids and bile salts. Lozenges are an ideal delivery system closely followed by powders and liquids. Ideas for use:
Lozenges: Give them daily to children to help them avoid whatever is going around school. Besides putting them with your own daily vitamin program, keep them handy for a pleasant after-dinner palette cleanser to replace a high calorie desert. Pack some in your suitcase to ward against the stresses and risks of travel.
Powder: This colostrum is most often used in post-workout recovery drinks, but can be added to any protein drink or smoothie as an easy way of getting your daily dose. Wonderful for infants—just put a little in their mouths once or twice a day. Powdered colostrum can also be dispersed in a small amount of very warm water and added to formula to restore some of the benefit of breast feeding. Athletes depend on the powder.
Liquid: This is not so much a different form as a different product. The food properties have been removed to concentrate the bioactive and immune properties contained in the original colostrum. It is especially powerful but more costly and may not be cost-effective except for those with very serious conditions. The new freeze-dried liquid from PerCoBa is the best.
What if I have lactose intolerance? True colostrum has such low levels of lactose (milk sugar) that individuals with lactose intolerance so far have not complained of problems. However, other brands that collect for 12-72 hours are another matter because they use “transitional milk” that is much higher in lactose.
Dairy allergies? In general, colostrum seems to help diminish allergic reactions. With the pure colostrum in PerCoBa, even consumers with diary allergies typically do not report a reaction. That is likely because in real First Collection Colostrum™ the protein content is mostly the bioactive immunoglobulins, not casein which is the milk protein to which people with milk allergies react. More trouble could be expected with other brands that use transitional milk because casein becomes the main protein in it. However, because the source of all colostrum is technically “dairy”, the FDA requires that even pure colostrum state on the label that it “contains milk.”
Side effects? Consumers usually report fringe benefits—they take colostrum for one issue and additional problems improve.
Do the calves get the colostrum they need? Absolutely. The calves are given all the colostrum they want. Even adult cows are given colostrum by many dairies to insure their health and longevity of production.
Think about it. Colostrum helps you protect your body from pathogens, inflammation, free radicals, high insulin levels, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and cellular decay while also boosting its ability to absorb nutrients and speed repair. Surely the mounting research will soon confirm that colostrum is a powerful ally against heart disease, dementia, malignancy and much more.
Online store that also carries many products mentioned on HBN and free shipping on orders over $25. 1-877-673-2536
La Leche League International – The role of colostrum in breast feeding.