What is colostrum?
Colostrum is known as the "first milk" because it is produced by female mammals at the end of the gestation period and during the first days after birth, being produced even earlier than the breast milk itself with which the newborn will be breastfeed in successive months . Its main objective is to ensure the complete development of the immune system and the digestive system of the newborn mammal.
Without colostrum, a calf will die, since it has no immune system and a limited digestive capacity with which to absorb nutrients and grow.
Colostrum strengthens the immune system of newborns against infections by providing a series of antibodies and antimicrobial agents, which are immunoregulatatory factors, as well as antioxidants.
There is also a presence of growth factors in colostrum with which a mammal may begin to develope new muscle.
Such are its properties, that before antibiotics were first manufactured, bovine colostrum was used as the main source of antibodies to fight infection, due to the high concentration of these substances found in this milk.
What are the properties of colostrum?
Bovine Colostrum has been a centerpiece of ayurvedic healing for thousands of years. Although colostrum is similar to milk, there are certain differences:
Milk is produced in the breast, as a nutrient, while colostrum is generated in the bloodstream, being a confluence of a number of substances which are absorbed in the process.
Nutritional composition of colostrum
- Immunoglobulins, such as IgG, IgA, IgM, and immunomodulatory lactoferrin molecule
- Fat-soluble vitamins, including retinol, tocopherol and beta-carotene
- Water-soluble vitamins, such as niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, B12, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine and pyridoxine
- Minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, copper and manganese
- Growth factors (IGF-1, IGF-2 and TGF beta and EFG), and prolactin
- Essential and non-essential amino acids
- Oligosaccharides, enzymes
- Probiotics and bacteria for intestinal flora, such as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium
- Peptides Rich in Proline (PRPs)
Colostrum helps develope a healthy intestine and reduces dysbiosis problems. This condition occurs when there is an imbalance in the bacterial concentration in the intestine, which could generate various disorders or degenerative diseases.
Colostrum is high in protein, and low in fats and carbohydrates, compared with milk. Orally, it absorbs at around 98%, resulting in a high bioavailability, such as with Whey Protein.
Bovine colostrum has an identical structure to the colostrum that is naturally produced by human beings. Research has attributed certain health benefits to bovine colostrum, including improving intestinal stability and nutrient absorption. Colostrum also provides balance to the immune system, increases energy and reduces inflammation and associated diseases.
Colostrum and growth factors
Bovine colostrum, as used in nutritional supplements, contains 87 growth factors. These components are involved at the cellular level, causing the growth of muscle tissues, as well as contributing to the stimulation of muscle mass, connective tissue, skin and the skeletal system.
Colostrum and intestinal health
The intestine is responsible for the absorption of nutrients, as well as the regulation of bacteria. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) exists mainly for this reason, being a line of defence against infections, such as from viruses and bacterial agents. Certain people who have intestinal problems, also have a lower level of IgA, and a somewhat depleted immune system, such that digestive system diseases may occur. In addition, continuous exposure to adverse environments that are loaded with toxins, as well as an unhealthy lifestyle, are influencing factors which may worsen these pathologies.
Colostrum can influence and strengthened IgA levels. One is thereby able to reset the correct immunatory defence system balance and reduce inflammatory markers, cytokines and pathogenic species in the intestine. Colostrum also has the ability to repair damaged intestinal tissue. Leaky gut syndrome is another issue which colostrum can help sufferers with, so that they may see improvements in their health.
Colostrum and the immune system
Another important property of colostrum is its wealth of immunoglobulins. These glycoproteins, are substances that act as antibodies and which can therefore provide important antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial functions, thereby helping to boost the immune system.
Colostrum is rich in lactoferrin, which as its name may indicate, is a critical protein for the metabolism of iron. Lactoferrin receptors are arranged throughout the body and in the cell tissue that forms organs. It has been demonstrated that lactoferrin inhibits autoimmune responses that trigger inflammatory conditions such as increased intestinal permeability. It also plays a role in the activation of T cells, which are the body's response to antigens, and in the ability of enzymes to function correctly. Lactoferrin can combat cell damage by acting as a powerful antioxidant agent against free radicals.
The lactoferrin present in colostrum, can increase the function of the immune system by working as a detoxifying agent, thereby reducing the workload of the lymphatic system and preventing the invasive agents encountered in our everyday life (such as in food, water or the environment) from being pushed toward the lymph nodes.
Benefits of colostrum
- Helps increase bioavailability and absorption of nutrients in the body, while encouraging healthy gastrointestinal function. Helps improve said function in patients with diseases such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, or candidiasis.
- Research reveals that colostrum could be used as a therapy against Alzheimer's disease. With regard to colostrinin in particular, which is a polypeptide isolated from colostrum and rich in proline, it is believed that it may have effects on the aggregation and toxicity of beta-amyloid, the main constituent of plaque in the brain that is thought to be the cause of Alzheimer's disease.
- It can boost the immune system (reinforce our defenses)
- It helps to reduce inflammation
- It is an important antimicrobial agent
- It improves metabolic function
Within the sports field, colostrum can have important benefits with regard to athlete recovery. In particular, there is a health indicator called creatine kinase which reflects the state of current muscle damage in the person. Creatine kinase or CK, is an enzyme found in skeletal muscle which indicates that an overly high volume of exercise may be present and may therefore affect the regeneration and recovery ability of muscle tissue. Colostrum can act in this case and is then associated with the reduction of these CK levels in the blood.
Where can I purchase colostrum?
You can buy colostrum, at HSNstore.com. It is available in different formats such as in capsules or vials.
You may also wish to buy colostrum with protein included, from the HSN Sports Series range, buy Evoexcel. You can benefit from colostrum’s special properties, along with pre and probiotic agents, digestive enzymes and an excellent aminogram including a high quantity of BCAAs and glutamic acid.