Bovine Colostrum, Immunity & the Aging Process
Article by Dr. Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc
Definition and History
Colostrum is the first mammary secretion nourishment that any mammal, including man, provides for its newborn for the first 24-48 hours of life. It contains numerous immune system and growth factors, which trigger at least fifty processes in a newborn, ranging from the development of the immune system to the growth of all body cells. Laboratory analysis of immune and growth factors from bovine colostrum are identical to those found in human colostrum except for the fact that the levels of these factors are significantly higher in the bovine version.
Conventional medical doctors were, at one time, enthusiastic about using colostrum for antibiotic purposes. This occurred prior to the introduction of sulfa drugs and penicillin. In the 1950s, prior to the wide scale use of corticosteroids as anti-inflammatory agents, colostrum was used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert Sabin, discovered that colostrum contained antibodies against polio and recommended it for children susceptible to catching the disease. Bovine colostrum has been used therapeutically in India for thousands of years by Ayurvedic physicians.
In the past five years, North American scientists and health care practitioners have rediscovered this natural, whole food supplement. Bovine colostrum is gaining prominence because of its myriad clinical and preventive applications in humans, a fact which has not escaped the notice of drug manufacturers who have tried to copy (genetically engineer), patent and market several of the individual components of colostrum.
Well known colostrum components like interferon, gamma globulin, growth hormone, IgF-1 and protease inhibitors are all used by conventional medical specialists in the treatment of cancer, chronic viral infections including HIV and autoimmune disease. There are now over 4000 clinical studies from around the world detailing research that has been done using colostrum in the treatment of dozens of different diseases.
Genetically engineered versions of IGF-1 and GH are presently marketed as anti-aging and AIDS drugs which are sold by prescription for between $800 to $1,200 dollars per month. They are found naturally in high concentrations in colostrum but at a fraction of the cost of the genetically engineered versions.
The two major components of colostrum are immune factors and growth factors:
- Immunoglobulins (A, D, E, G and M) - neutralize toxins, viruses and bacteria in the lymph and circulatory systems.
- Lactoferrin - antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, iron-binding protein with therapeutic effects in cancer, HIV, cytomegalovirus, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, candida albicans and other infections.
- Proline-Rich Polypeptide (PRP) - a hormone that regulates the thymus gland, stimulating an underactive immune system or dampening an overactive immune system as seen in autoimmune disease (MS, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, etc.).
- Leukocytes - white blood cells that stimulate the production of interferon which slows viral reproduction and penetration of cell walls.
- Enzymes - lactoperoxidase-thiocyanate, peroxidase and xanthine oxidase destroy bacteria through their ability to release hydrogen peroxide.
- Lysozyme - a hydrolyzing agent and immune system booster capable of destroying bacteria and viruses on contact.
- Cytokines - interleukins that regulate the duration and intensity of the immune response, are responsible for cell to cell communication, boost T-cell activity and the production of immunoglobulins. Interleukin-10 is strongly anti-inflammatory, especially in arthritic joints.
- Trypsin Inhibitors and Protease Inhibitors - prevent the destruction of immune and growth factors in colostrum from being broken down in the GI tract; they also prevent H. pylori from attaching to the walls of the stomach and can have a beneficial role in the treatment of peptic ulcers.
- Lymphokines - hormone-like peptides produced by activated lymphocytes which mediate the immune response.
- Oligo Polysaccharides and Glycoconjugates - attract and bind to pathogens (Strep., E. Coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, Entamoeba, Shigella, Clostridium Difficile Toxins A & B and Cholera) preventing them from attaching or entering the mucous membranes.
- Other immune Factors - some of the documented immune factors include orotic acid, secretory IgA, IgA Specific Helper, B Lactoglobulin, Lactalbumin, Albumin, Prealbumin, Alpha 1-Antitripsin, Alpha 1-Fetoprotein, Alpha 2-macroglobulin, Alpha 2-AP Glycoprotein, C3, C4 and Orosomucoids.
- Vitamins - A, B12 and E are found in small amounts while traces of all others are also present in colostrum.
- Sulfur - a mineral with multiple uses in metabolism and as part of many structural body proteins.
The growth factors found in bovine colostrum all boost cell and tissue growth by stimulating DNA and RNA formation. Studies show that these growth factors are capable of increasing T-cells, accelerate healing, balance blood glucose, reduce insulin need, increase muscle and bone growth while metabolizing fat. Colostrum growth factors include:
- Epithelial growth factor (EgF)
- Insulin-like growth factor-I and II (IGF-1 and IGF-II)
- Fibroblast growth factor (FgF)
- Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)
- Transforming growth factors A & B (TgA and B)
- Growth hormone (GH)
Completely healthy individuals can supplement with colostrum just to maintain their vitality and good health. Colostrum stimulates lean muscle growth and increases endurance while encouraging the burning of excessive body fat. It helps to reverse this and many other signs of aging.
IgF-1 is required by the body to metabolize fat for energy through the Krebs cycle. With aging, less IgF-1 is produced in the body. Inadequate levels are associated with an increased incidence of Type II diabetes and difficulty in losing weight despite a proper nutritional intake and adequate exercise.
Colostrum provides a good source of IgF-1 as a complementary therapy for successful weight loss.
Colostrum is an ideal supplement for athletes. Exhaustive workouts and athletic competition can temporarily depress the immune system, decreasing the number of T-lymphocytes and NK cells.
Athletes are therefore more prone to develop infections, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Many of colostrum s immune factors can help significantly reduce the number and severity of infections caused by both physical and emotional stress.
Fighting viruses with the use of conventional medical approaches is, at best, problematic. Standard vaccinations and antiviral drugs can all cause significant side effects including death. On the other hand, hundreds of studies indicate that colostrum is a safe and effective agent for both the prevention and treatment of common viral illnesses.
Heart Disease of all kinds can be helped by colostrum s ability to regenerate heart muscle via its growth factors. The interferon and lymphokine components of colostrum fight cancer while diabetics can benefit from colostrum s growth factors.
Colostrum benefits over 60 known immune and auto-immune diseases including the following:
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Bacterial infections
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Crohn s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
The number of supplement manufacturers offering bovine colostrum to the public is growing with each passing day. At present, bovine colostrum is available at health food stores, through health care practitioners or from multi-level marketing distributors without prescription. Unfortunately, there are several poor quality colostrum products on the market which are biologically inactive due to improper processing through the use of high temperatures and pasteurization. The formation of colostrum into tablets is a method that requires high pressure and generates heat, thereby destroying activity.
Colostrum in liquid form is also less than ideal. It is not as concentrated as the powdered versions of the product, must be kept refrigerated due to its short shelf life and preservatives must be added that further dilute and destroy its biological capabilities. Further, some sensitive individuals can react adversely to these chemical preservatives.
To get optimal health results from colostrum supplementation, make sure that the brand you purchase is either in powdered or encapsulated powder form and produced organically - free of pesticides, herbicides, and anabolic hormones. Purchase product that originates only from USDA certified plants that follow strict quality control procedures and who, by law, must test all the colostrum they produce.
Low heat processing, the removal of fat, whey and lactose as well as laboratory testing to insure biological integrity and safety are the rigid standards which must be met by high quality supplements. The supplement manufacturer must be able to supply the consumer with independent assays demonstrating that the product contains the active immune and growth factors.
In the treatment of adults with serious immune system diseases, clinicians usually prescribe 1000 - 2000 mgs. twice daily of the dried, powder or encapsulated form of colostrum, best taken on an empty stomach with 8 - 12 ounces of water. Preventive doses have not been established but several authors recommend continuous dosing at levels decided upon primarily by the consumer/patient. For those who show no clinical response to colostrum, the dosage can safely be doubled or even tripled as needed until the desired results are obtained.
Children can also take colostrum but require proportionately less. Herxheimer reactions (mainly flu-like symptoms) can occur as part of the healing response in up to 40% of the cases but are usually mild and disappear with continued supplementation at the same dosage level. Through hundreds of years of use and over 1000 clinical studies, colostrum has been demonstrated to be completely safe without drug interactions or side effects at any level of ingestion.
Colostrum may well be the only practical protection on the planet against autoimmune disease, cancer and other incurable diseases. It is completely natural, free of side effects and an excellent alternative to hundreds of drugs. If you are worried about vaccinations, AIDS, hepatitis, biological warfare, herpes, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome, colostrum is definitely worth your consideration.
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