All About Colostrum

FASCINATING COLOSTRUM: An Ancient Food for Modern Times (Introduction)

by John Heinerman, Ph.D.


DEDICATED TO Doug and Kaye Wyatt: Stalwart pioneers of good health and devout believers in Nature's most "perfect food" COLOSTRUM, the substance of Life! 


Historical Evidence

Colostrum was used in ancient times by different cultures for both nourishment and remedial purposes. In an apocryphal work entitled "The Book of Sirach" (written sometime between 300-275 BC), this "first milk" from a female animal who had just given birth, was ranked up there with wheat, honey, salt, water, fire and iron as being some of the "necessities of life." (R.H. Charles' The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of The Old Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976; I: 459).

Among the Hebrews the term halab had as one possible meaning, a reference to the "new milk" that animal and human mothers routinely produced for their newborns. "Halab" occurred more than forty times in the Old Testament alone, signifying that this form of "nature's perfect food" occupied an important position in the diet of these ancient people. (Rev. T. K. Cheyne and J. S. Black, Encyclopedia Biblica (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1902; 3:3088-89).

Colostrum in those times was derived primarily from cattle and goats, the latter being especially prized on account of its taste and richness (see Proverbs 27:27). The fresh colostrum was usually stored in leather skins which modem translators have referred to as "bottles" (see Judges 4: 19).

On The Other Side of the Flood
Scholars refer to the time before the Great Flood as the Antediluvian Era, and the people who lived in such a period of time as antediluvians. One of the most popular and reliable ancient histories, which briefly discuss these people, is Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus. (Two of the best translations are by the Englishman William Whiston and the Frenchman Arnauld D' Andilly; the former is more common, while the latter is more difficult to find.)

In recounting the well-known story of Cain and Abel, Josephus mentions that "Abel presented new milk [or colostrum], and the firstlings of his fold" as a sacrifice to God; while "Cain offered the fruits of his labors and planting." Interestingly enough, while Cain's produce was rejected as being unacceptable, Abel's offerings were highly approved of! Undoubtedly the inclusion of sheep colostrum must have had something to do with it!

Is Colostrum the "Food of Youth"?
We now come to another equally interesting discussion, which Josephus made concerning the extensive age of many of these antediluvians, which ran into the hundreds of years. He declared that their incredibly advanced age was true and that we shouldn't question it just because of "our present age and the shortness thereof"; nor should we be comparing the puny lengths of our brieflives "with the long life of those ancients ... who were beloved of God, and newly created by him."

Josephus attributed so many centuries of living to several factors. First, most of those antediluvians were virtuous people and taught the principles of virtue to their children. Secondly, they kept themselves busy and their minds occupied with useful pursuits and "the sciences of astronomy and geometry, which they had invented."

But the primary reason for such sustained longevity was due to "a kind of nutrient agreeing with their natures, and proper to prolong their lives" (D' Andilly translation) or "because their food was then litter for the prolongation of life" (Whiston version). I prefer the Frenchman's rendering of Josephus' original Greek to that of the Englishman, for I think "a kind of nutriment is more singly specific than the plural implications which 'food' holds."

It doesn't take much mental exercise to see that D' Andilly' s reference to "a kind of nutriment" is a direct inference to colostrum, plain and simple! Since colostrum is so renowned for its "renewal" qualities, is it any wonder that people lived for many centuries in the Antediluvian Era? This has to be the "Food of Youth" if anything ever was!

IGF Factors for Body Renewal
In subsequent chapters you will learn more about some of the major constituents in colostrum.

But for our discussion here I'll mention one group of them now; these are the Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), which represent a family of very significant peptides. One of them is designated as IOF -1. It is recognized as being a point stimulator of growth at the cellular, skeletal and muscle/nerve tissue levels. Bovine colostrum is extremely rich in this and related growth peptides.

As our bodies grow older they tend to lose much of this IGF-l, as well as growth factor (GF) itself.

The most obvious physical signs of such depletion are manifested in a thinning of the hair and skin, wrinkling of the face, pouches beneath the eyes, sagging cheeks, thinned lips, gingival retraction, thinned jawbones, loose skin folds under the chin, less muscled shoulders, dropping triceps, meager wrinkling of hands, less muscular buttocks, sagging inner sides of both thighs, floppy belly and fatty cushions above the knees. But when doctors, who specialize in treating old age symptoms, administer both IGF-l and GF to such elderly patients, most of these things eventually disappear!(Drs. Ronald M. Klatz and Robert Goldman, Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics (Marina Del Rey, CA: Health Quest Publications, 1997; p. 12).

The Longevity Secrets of Russian Centennials
From this evidence the logical conclusion can be made that colostrum's numerous growth hormones and anti-aging compounds will continually rejuvenate older tissue mass and create a look of fullness to otherwise wasting flesh. Back in 1979 when the Soviet Union was still intact, I had the opportunity to go there along with some other scientists for a period of almost two months. As invited guests of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, we were given special privileges and broad freedoms to pretty much go where we wanted in order to do our research, which just happened to be in the area of geriatric medicine, with a particular focus on longevity. In company with other colleagues (and several translators provided for our group), I visited several Soviet republics (most notably Abkhasia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) where there were known to reside quite a number of centenarians. Many of those whom we met had verifiable ages well over 110. I spoke with nineteen different men and women who ranged in years from 114 to 126.

The majority certainly didn't show their extreme age in the same way that most very elderly Americans presently do. In fact, aside from some gray hair and occasionally wrinkled skin, virtually none of them suffered from any obvious wasting of muscle tissue. For the most part they looked as hale and hearty as a bunch of well-fed seventy-year-olds here in the States.

Eager to know their "secret" for being so remarkably well-preserved, I investigated further and discovered several food items common to all: black rye bread, dark raw honey, green onions and garlic cloves and frequent helpings of fresh colostrum! During every interview I always remembered to ask if anyone ever suffered from indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea or constipation. To my amazement not one of them did! I concluded that it undoubtedly had been the colostrum from assorted domesticated mammals, which has been responsible for their excellent state of health. (Years later I compiled much of this research data into a national best-seller, Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Anti-Aging Remedies (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996).

The 'Perfect Food' for Balanced Health
It was largely due to these first-hand observations with genuine centenarians in the former USSR that I later became convinced that colostrum was "a kind of nutriment" for the antediluvians. Josephus declared this to be "agreeing with their natures, and proper to prolong their lives." In my opinion, colostrum is, indeed, the "food of youth".

But more than this, it is the perfect food for balancing body health. Illness, or the disease state of anything, is merely a reflection of things being out of balance. At least this is what the ancient medical systems of China and India have maintained for several thousand years. Think of good health as a playground teeter-totter on which children sit at opposite ends. If kids of the same height and weight sit down simultaneously, the thick board straddling a metal pipe will remain evenly balanced on both ends. But if height and weight of either participant varies slightly, there will be an obvious shifting up or down on one end. This may be likened to a process of sickness.

But unlike the deliberate imbalance of the playground apparatus, which creates fun for kids, the health imbalance within the body isn't such a happy prospect at all. Pain, misery and great discomfort ensue. The only thing that will bring relief and solve much internal distress is an agent that can restore balance to everything. This is where colostrum comes in. Working at different biochemical levels, it can gradually, but effectively, tone the eleven different body systems in each of us (see chapter two). Once their necessary readjustments back to normal have been made, the physical equilibrium of the entire body is brought into balance again.

This is the ultimate hope, which colostrum faithfully promises to deliver as scheduled. There is no better way of achieving this, that I know of, than with colostrum - "the perfect food for balanced health."

--John Heinerman, Ph.D. (Medical Anthropologist) Salt Lake City, UT 84147 (March 1999)



PDF of Dr. Heinerman's complete article available HERE.

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