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Frequently Asked Questions About Bovine Colostrum

mother & InfantWhat is colostrum?

Colostrum is the first food for growth and immunity; it is the pre-milk, or rather the first lacteal secretion that is produced by all mammalian mothers immediately following the birth of their young. Colostrum is frequently referred to as “life’s first food”. It not only supports life but also makes it flourish. Colostrum is produced in the first few days following the birth of the newborn. Colostrum as a supplement is the most researched and beneficial healing and preventative super-food known.

Each drop contains the promise of life: the immunoglobulins, growth factors, antibodies, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and other substances designed to provide the body with the ability to face a lifetime of invasion by micro-organisms and environmental toxins. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic and has no known negative interactions with drugs, foods or other supplements.


What is the purpose of colostrum in nature?

In newborn mammals, the primary function for colostrum is the transfer of passive immunity from the mother to the child. During her lifetime, the mother has been exposed to a variety of environmental factors and organisms to which her immune system has produced antibodies. In transfer of passive immunity, the mother passes on her complement of antibodies to these various factors to her offspring. Humans and primates differ from other mammals in the location and timing of immune transfer. A pregnant woman or female primate passively immunizes her young in utero when her antibodies cross the placental barrier. This transfer is only about half of what can ultimately be transferred. Further immunity and growth factors transfer during breastfeeding from her colostrum and milk. For all other mammals whose antibodies do not pass through the placental barrier, the young are passively immunized immediately after birth with colostrum. The maternal antibodies present in the colostrum are directly absorbed through the gut lining in the first few days after birth.

What also separates humans and primates from other mammals is that without colostrum, nonprimate mammals will die within 24 hours. These mammals are born without any immune system, and as they pass through the birth canal, they are immediately exposed to pathogens. The physical trauma of birth causes bruising, inflammation and pain for the animal. Colostrum helps attenuate all of these insults. It stimulates bone and tissue growth so that offspring can quickly recover and survive their hostile environments, perhaps running or swimming to avoid predators within a couple of days.


Why is colostrum significant?

Colostrum is the first food that is available to the newborn. It is not only highly nutritious but also contains substances (immunoglobulins and immune factors) that help to stimulate and augment the newborn’s immune system, thus helping to protect the vulnerable newborn from its new and potentially harmful environment. Furthermore, it contains substances (growth factors and cytokines) which act to stimulate the development, maturation and proliferation of various tissues and organs. Human colostrum is not as powerful as other mammalian colostrum, and the amount of colostrum decreases over time. Human development is much slower than other species, so unlike a baby gazelle, for example, a human infant does not “hit the ground running” right after birth. This necessitates mothers breastfeed their babies for at least 2 years (and perhaps as long as 4 years) in order to provide optimal growth, development, and protection against disease-causing pathogens.

The significance of colostrum is best illustrated in farm animals, such as the horse, cow, goat, sheep and pig. In these animals passive transmission of immunity occurs after birth in the form of colostrum. If these animals do not receive colostrum in the first 12 - 24 hours following birth they have a very good chance of not surviving (mortality rates of up to 95% have been reported). Human babies won’t die without colostrum, but they’ll certainly have more developmental problems. Limited breastfeeding or substituting formula for breast milk increases the incidence of SIDS, respiratory, ear and gastrointestinal infections, lower I.Q., allergies, autoimmune conditions including diabetes, autism, ADD, etc.

Colostrum also has a significant role in the first few days of an infant’s life. Babies are born with holes in their stomachs and small intestines, a natural condition known as intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut”. This allows for the immunoglobulins to easily pass through into the bloodstream. Mom’s colostrum closes these holes after a couple days of breastfeeding. If babies are not continuously breastfed for the first 2 years, the holes re-open and Leaky Gut Syndrome develops. Even if babies receive adequate breastfeeding, specific lifestyle factors and medications can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS). Leaky Gut Syndrome is a primary cause of autoimmune diseases including diabetes, autism, asthma, allergies and in infants an increase in stomach and digestive issues, sudden infant death and infections of all types, including ear infections.


How does colostrum differ from plain milk?

Colostrum is not milk. It is a concentration of immune and growth factors, vitamins and minerals and essential amino acids designed by nature to transfer immunity, heal and prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome, initiate and sustain growth and calm and eliminate pain associated with the birth process. It has a high concentration of immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, PRPs and all of the vital growth factors. These substances are also present in milk but at negligible levels. Furthermore, colostrum has a much higher protein, vitamin, and mineral content.


What are antibodies?

Antibodies are very specialized molecules that are produced by the body's immune system. They are produced in response to the host being exposed to an immunogenic or foreign substance (antigen) such as an infectious microbe. Their action is to destroy and prevent the colonization and/or neutralize disease-causing microbes. A very important feature of antibodies is that they are directed specifically to the pathogen that induced their formation.


What are growth factors?

Growth factors are very small bio-active molecules which promote growth and maturation of various cell types and tissues. They are found in very high concentrations in colostrum. They not only stimulate normal growth and development but help regenerate and accelerate the repair of aged or injured muscle, skin, bone, cartilage and nerve tissues. Growth factors also stimulate the body to burn fat for fuel instead of muscle tissue in times of fasting or dieting. They help build lean muscle and have been shown to have a positive effect on athletic performance. In addition, transforming growth factors initiate and ensure bone health and density, and help destroy cancer cells in the body. Growth factors also ensure the growth and development of immune cells such as macrophages, NK (natural killer) cells and T cells to prevent infections of all types. It also provides the endothelial growth hormones that help maintain capillary growth and development to insure the distribution of healing and nutritional components all the way down to the cellular level and to maintain flexibility of our arterial walls to help maintain healthy blood pressure and flow to the extremities.

The major growth factors include:

Insulin-like Growth Factor I (IGF-1) – a protein hormone with a similar structure to insulin and a major growth factor that stimulates cell proliferation in wounds.

Insulin-like Growth Factor II (IGF-2) – a protein hormone with a similar structure to insulin and a major fetal growth factor; promotes growth during gestation.

Epithelial/Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) – stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of epidermal (skin) cells, including the intestinal lining, to maintain gut integrity.

Transforming Growth Factor Beta 1 & 2 (TGF-β1, TGF-β2) – controls cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis; stimulates production of IgA by B lymphocytes; is a vital factor in skeletal growth, bone mass maintenance, and fracture healing.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – creates new blood vessels during embryonic development and new blood vessels after injury.


What are PRPs?

PRPs (Proline-Rich Polypeptides) are short strings of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. PRPs in colostrum act as signaling molecules between various cells to modulate the activity of the immune system. The two primary and most important types of PRPs in colostrum are PRP-2 (anti-microbial activity) and PRP-3 (anti-inflammatory activity). PRP-2s increase the immune system’s activity when it’s necessary to fight off an infection. PRP-3s quell the immune system’s activity to prevent tissue damage once the infection has been defeated. Concentrated PRPs, as an oral spray, are available for either antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory use.


What is lactoferrin?

Lactoferrin is a broad spectrum immune modulator which defends against pathogens of all types. Its antiviral activity is particularly important as there are few pharmaceutical drugs which have proven at all effective against viruses. Lactoferrin has been shown to have antiviral activity against many viruses, including rotavirus, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, canine herpes virus, feline herpes virus, echovirus, enterovirus, human papilloma virus, polio virus, HIV and cytomegalovirus, Hepatitis B and C viruses, adenovirus, hanta virus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, Sindbis and Semliki Forest viruses. Lactoferrin can destroy viruses on contact. Lactoferrin is also active against disease-causing bacteria, fungi, and amebic parasites, but promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and BifidobacteriaI in the GI tract. Lactoferrin also acts as a bone growth hormone and can help prevent osteoporosis.


What are immunoglobulins?

The immunoglobulins are a group of specialized bio-active proteins or molecules found in serum and other tissue fluids, including the milk of all mammals. There are five classes of immunoglobulins which are recognized in mammals -- Immunoglobulin G (IgG), Immunoglobulin A (IgA), Immunoglobulin M (IgM), Immunoglobulin E (IgE), and Immunoglobulin D (IgD). The function of these molecules is to bind to invading organisms and to activate specific actions that help prevent infection and rid the body of disease-causing agents. They function in the destruction of diseased and damaged cells, reduction of inflammation and prevention of bacterial and viral attachment. The most prevalent class of immunoglobulins in all species is IgG. Immunoglobulins have an integral role in the immune defense system in that they form antibodies.


What are immune factors?

In addition to immunoglobulins, there are other substances in colostrum that have an immune function. Collectively, they have been termed "Immune Factors". Their function is to complement the various functions associated with the immune response. PRPs are considered immune factors.


What is passive immunity?

In all species of mammals, the transfer of passive immunity occurs as a result of the mother passing on her complement of antibodies to her young. For the newborn, this helps in protect against potentially pathogenic agents until the time the child’s own immune system is sufficiently developed to ward of infection on its own.


What is passive local protection?

In humans, passive transmission of immunity occurs prior to birth and thus a newborn human baby at birth is born with a complement of maternal antibodies. After birth the antibodies present in human colostrum and milk function in local protection of the gut. In animals like the horse, cow, sheep, and goat passive transmission of maternal antibodies occurs in the first 12 - 48 hours following birth by way of colostrum. In the case of cows, a newborn calf that does not receive colostrum from its mother will die of diarrhea and/or other enteric infections. During the feeding period, a newborn animal absorbs intact maternal antibodies directly through the digestive tract. After the first few days, the animal's digestive tract matures (gut closure) and the direct adsorption of intact antibodies ceases. At this point, any antibodies present in the colostrum and milk act in local protection of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.


What is the immune system?

The immune system is a natural defense mechanism by which the body fights infection. It is divided into two functional systems, the innate and adaptive immune systems. Colostrum has the ability to stimulate an underactive immune system and suppress an overactive immune system.

The innate immune system is the first line of defense by which the host combats infectious agents and pathogenic microbes. This is a non-specific response, which proves effective against most infective agents. The skin is part of the innate immune system as it acts as a preventive barrier to most infective agents.

The adaptive immune system produces a specific antibody in response to an infective agent which is designed to neutralize the invading agent. A very important feature of the adaptive immune system is that it involves memory and gives rise to resistance to repeated exposure or infection by the same invading agent. The importance of this memory factor is seen in childhood diseases such as chicken pox, measles, and mumps in which the adaptive immune system produces a life-long immunity following infection.


Why bovine colostrum?

Bovine colostrum is the only form of colostrum that is not species specific. In other words, it contains all of the immune and growth factors found in all other sources and thus, it can significantly benefit all other mammals, including humans. Because calves are born without any immunity to airborne, disease-causing organisms, their mothers’ colostrum must contain a very large amount of immune and health factors. As a result bovine colostrum has 30-40 times the amount of these factors in human colostrum, making it the richest source of colostrum available.


Is bovine colostrum safe?

Bovine colostrum has been used for years as a food supplement; its use and safety is well documented. Colostrum has no negative side effects and is a whole and natural food that can be consumed in ANY quantity. There are absolutely no toxicity levels. Furthermore, the manufacture and use of dairy products, and their associated safety and nutritional benefits is also well known. Through quality control management of the entire manufacturing process, from collection of the colostrum, through to packaging and storage, ensures the colostrum is delivered in perfect condition and certified fit for human consumption.


Is it safe to take colostrum if I am allergic to dairy?

Absolutely. In actuality, only about 1 in 1,000,000 people are truly allergic to the casein in milk. What people call “milk allergy” is the crossover of partially digested milk proteins into the bloodstream as a result of Leaky Gut Syndrome. In fact, milk allergy is a relatively new phenomenon; prior to the invention of antibiotics and the homogenization of milk, people drank milk from ruminant animals worldwide without problems. Anyone who has experienced an anaphylactic reaction to dairy should not consume any form of colostrum.


If colostrum is not allergenic, why do some people experience an unpleasant reaction?

New or first-time users of colostrum may experience a detox event which can mimic flu-like symptoms (called Herxheimer reactions) and may cause temporary mild diarrhea or constipation. As colostrum begins killing off the pathogens in the GI tract, the dead pathogens are toxic and cause unpleasant symptoms. This is normal, and one out of five first-time users experience this. It is not a reason to stop taking colostrum. You should reduce your dosage to a minimum amount (one capsule per day, or ½ teaspoon) until the body adjusts, and then increase your dosage as desired to achieve optimal results.


Does colostrum contain lactose or caseins?

Colostrum naturally contains lactose and milk caseins. If you have lactose-sensitivity, select a supplements that is "lactose-reduced"). Lactose-reduced versions contain about 1-5% lactose, instead of 20% in raw or regular colostrum. The lactase enzyme has been added to help eliminate some of unpleasant symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Anyone who has experienced an anaphylactic reaction to dairy should not consume any form of colostrum.


Should colostrum be pasteurized?

Absolutely! Cow feces can easily splash onto the udders contaminating them with E-coli, salmonella and other pathogenic bacteria. This creates the potential for contamination of dairy products. Dairy products (for human consumption) must be pasteurized to kill these pathogens. There are two ways of pasteurizing colostrum - the optimal flash (15 second) pasteurization and a slow 30-minute vat process. Flash pasteurization uses the expensive, high-tech equipment found in the modern dairy that does not denature the colostrum. With the less expensive, 30- minute pasteurization process, a huge vat of colostrum is heated from the outside. It takes a long time to heat a large kettle of colostrum to the required temperature. During this interval, bacteria grow in the colostrum. As the bacteria feed upon the colostrum, it denatures and destroys its effectiveness. Most colostrum that is being sold to the public today has been prepared for the animal feed market and has not been pasteurized. International pasteurization standards are 161°F for 15 seconds, which ensures the highest microbiological quality.


Why do I need colostrum as an adult?

Once puberty has passed, adult bodies begin the aging process by gradually producing less of the immune and growth factors that help fight off disease and heal damaged body tissue. Colostrum is the only natural source of these life-giving components, and when properly processed and standardized to contain all of the bioactive components, optimal health and healing is possible.


How much colostrum should I take?

The amount of colostrum you take varies from person to person. For healthy individuals who want to maintain a healthy immune system and prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome, 2 capsules (or 1 teaspoon powder) twice daily are recommended. For anyone whose has compromised health situation, GI or digestive health issues, auto-immune conditions, inflammatory conditions, cancer, heart disease, is recovering from an injury, wants to get rid of allergies, or detects a cold or flu coming on, 4 capsules (1 tablespoon powder) twice a day are recommended. For athletic use and anti-aging, 10-20 grams daily optimizes growth hormone levels which translates to 2 heaping tablespoons of powder twice a day.


Can colostrum be taken with other supplements and medications?

Yes. Colostrum is a food, and has no known interactions with either drugs or supplements. However, you may find that the other supplements and medications you are taking could have a more pronounced effect because colostrum increases villi height in the small intestine, which in turn increases absorption.


Should colostrum be taken during pregnancy?

Colostrum definitely won’t hurt you or your fetus, but as always with anything you take during pregnancy you should check with your health care professional first. Colostrum will help supplement your immune system which takes at hit during childbirth. It will help also you recover faster and help you lose those extra pounds associated with pregnancy quicker.


Can children and infants take colostrum supplements?

Absolutely. In fact, colostrum is strongly recommended for infants who are not being breastfed for at least 2 years. The Center for Nutritional Research recommends Colostrum-LD® which can help growing children in many ways, from better concentration, increased memory to fewer illnesses such as autism, diabetes, and juvenile arthritis. Children have a tendency to catch colds and illness from peers and schoolmates; the PRPs and other immune factors in colostrum will help immensely.


How does colostrum produce the anti-aging results?

Colostrum works with your body to utilize its natural substances and increases your overall health. After puberty, the body begins slowing down the production of growth hormones which are necessary for the reproduction of virtually all of the body’s cellular tissue. By age 80, individuals produce virtually no growth hormones, and so aging occurs and eventually, death. Colostrum’s growth factors are the actual hormones that stimulate the normal reproduction of body cellular tissue. Normal reproduction means just that (normal) not aged, cancerous, wrinkled, or weakened. A New England Journal of Medicine article reported that the most effective anti-aging process would be simply the replacement of growth hormones at proper levels to slow, possibly stop and even reverse aging.


I am vegetarian and I do not eat animal food.

Colostrum is neither animal nor vegetable. We take very good care of our cattle and make sure they are healthy and live a long happy life. Mother Nature produced colostrum for every mammal on earth, and it is by far the healthiest choice. With that said, the choice is completely yours.


I don't want to take colostrum away from the baby calves that need it!

Don't worry. We never deprive calves of their colostrum. Calves need it as much as any mammal, and many calves would die without it. We make sure the calves get their fill first, and then we take the remainder.


What about my pets? Can they benefit from colostrum?

Yes! As a matter of fact, most pets love the taste of colostrum. Bovine colostrum is not species specific, so dogs and cats will gain many health benefits from colostrum. Aging pets with arthritis or joint problems are particularly responsive to Colostrum-LD®.


Why can't I get colostrum from a local farmer?

You can, but there are limitations. First, it needs to be refrigerated and consumed before it spoils. Second, raw colostrum is not pasteurized and contains immune factors from just one cow. This differs from processed colostrum, which is pasteurized for safety and concentrated to provide a broad base of immune factors that have been pooled from hundreds and sometimes thousands of cows.


When is bovine colostrum collected?

The first colostrum collected after birth is reserved for the newborn calf. The first real milking of the colostrum after the calves get their needs met it collected within first 2-12 hours.


What makes a quality colostrum supplement?

The quality and thus, effectiveness of colostrum depends on three factors – the colostrum source, the testing and verification of active components, and a liposomal delivery system. Colostrum should also be GMP certified to contain the highest possible levels of bioactives snd standardized at the highest levels to assure reliable performance in every use.

Colostrum Sourcing
First, colostrum should be obtained from pasture-fed Grade A dairy cows that are certified to be healthy, BST, BSE and antibiotic-free. Colostrum from each dairy should be tested to confirm that it is from the first milking and free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. First-milking colostrum contains peak quantities of Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs), Lactoferrin, Growth Factors, Immunoglobulins and other active immune components. Year-round calving allows for supplements containing current and relevant colostral antibodies, which helps protect humans from current viral and bacterial strains.

Testing & Verification of Active Components
Second, colostrum should undergoes rigorous testing in an FDA-licensed facility to ensure that every batch contains the specified quantity of twenty active components necessary to induce the desired health benefits. Any product that does not achieve the quantity and quality of components must be rejected and returned for animal consumption. The components which should be consistently monitored include PRPs, Lactoferrin, TGF (Transforming Growth Factor), IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), IgA, IgG, and other immune and growth factors. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) should be utilized to analyze colostrum after collection and after processing to ensure that all components are intact (in specific percentages) and bioactive. Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is employed in quality control, and manufacturing should be performed under cGMP (certified Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Procedures). Before shipping, every product batch should be analyzed to assure its quality, efficacy and safety. Product testing includes Coliform bacteria, E. coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella spp., Bacillus cereus, Enterobacteriaceae spp., as well as yeast and mold. These steps ensure a pharmaceutical-grade standard.

Liposomal Enhanced Delivery (LD)
Third, application of a Liposomal Enhanced Delivery system (a lipid coating) is critical for colostrum to readily dissolve in liquids and ensures the colostrum will bypass digestion; will be transported through the bowel wall; will circulate throughout the body; will reach the organs and cells; and remain bioavailable at the cellular level. “Liposomal Delivery makes colostrum (and other nutrients) up to 1,500 % more bioavailable” (Robert R. Milne, MD). Without LD, colostrum loses most of its effectiveness. LD ensures that colostrum:

1. Colostrum does not oxidize in storage.
2. Colostrum is not digested (digestion destroys colostrum’s bioactivity).
3. Colostrum components are delivered through the bowel wall into the blood stream to reach all organs and cells wherever needed.
4. Colostrum components transport through the cell wall to assist in RNA and DNA repair; stem cell initiation and differentiation; facilitation of cellular growth and and repair; infection prevention; and identification of damaged and diseased cells.


How does colostrum with Liposomal Delivery (Colostrum-LD®) make a difference in building a healthy body?

Colostrum-LD® helps the immune system fight off pathogens and destroys bacteria and viruses on contact. Colostrum-LD® has been clinically proven to help against nature’s most virulent gut-based viruses, including those that cause diarrhea in late stage AIDS patients who otherwise have virtually no effective immune response. Colostrum-LD® supercharges Natural Killer cells, macrophages, and T-cells by up to twenty times. It activates the immediate production of defense mechanisms and coordinates the body’s own defense mechanisms for optimum health. Absolutely no plant or chemical substance can even come close to this. As a true immune system modulator, Colostrum-LD® is the only supplement that does not rev up an already over responding immune system. Instead, it helps balance immune responses, thereby attenuating the chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune conditions and allergies. Colostrum-LD® is the only immune support appropriate for these conditions. Colostrum-LD® helps stimulates growth and regeneration of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Growth factors help repair RNA and DNA and stimulate stem cell production. As your body renews itself every seven years, wouldn’t you like to have cells as healthy as they were 7 or 14 years ago? Colostrum-LD® has proven anti-aging benefits for muscle, skin, bone, brain and nervous system tissue. Now you can age well without Leaky Gut Syndrome, with less disability and less pain.


Can probiotics be taken at the same time as colostrum?

A leaky gut needs to be healed PRIOR to adding probiotics. Unless Leaky Gut Syndrome is healed, bacteria – even the good strains in probiotic supplements – may cross over into the bloodstream and cause an inappropriate immune response. The immune system will attack and create antibodies against the good bacteria, thereby permanently preventing the beneficial bacteria from colonizing in the gut. Adults should Colostrum-LD® for six weeks prior to adding probiotics.

Sovereign Health Initiative

dairy cow

The Sovereign Health Initiative is committed to the belief that each person holds sovereignty over his or her body. We further support the principle that in order to take ownership of one’s health, it is necessary to make informed decisions through self-education. To this end, it is our aim to offer critical information to educate the public on how to live a lifetime in optimal health.

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