Colostrum is produced by all female mammals just before they give birth. The fluid is secreted into the mother’s milk for approximately three days following birth. After this colostrum is no longer secreted with the milk. Colostrum provides rich immune factors to the sensitive newborns who cannot fend for themselves. A large body of evidence has shown that supplemental colostrum, with its amazing complex of factors, is beneficial for adults as well as for infants. Supplemental colostrum is created by drying bovine colostrum and is available in powder, capsules, tablets or chewable lozenges.
Colostrum actually works as a natural and 100% safe vaccine. It contains large quantities of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) which is a new substance to the newborn. Before your baby was born, he received the benefit of another antibody, called IgG, through your placenta. IgG worked through the baby's circulatory system, but IgA protects the baby in the places most likely to come under attack from germs, namely the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines. Colostrum has an especially important role to play in the baby's gastrointestinal tract. A newborn's intestines are very permeable. Colostrum seals the holes by "painting" the gastrointestinal tract with a barrier which mostly prevents foreign substances from penetrating and possibly sensitizing a baby to foods the mother has eaten. Colostrum also contains high concentrations of leukocytes, protective white cells which can destroy disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
The greater part of this protein is comprised of whey proteins. Immunoglobulins, mainly IgG, make up about 75% of the whey proteins. Other substances found in bovine colostrum include casein, lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, and the growth factors insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2), transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). In addition, bovine colostrum contains vitamins, minerals, lipids and lactose. Bovine colostrum may also contain colostrinin, also known as proline-rich polypeptide (PRP), a substance found in ovine (sheep) colostrum.
Hyperimmune bovine colostrum may have antimicrobial activity based on the ability of specific immunoglobulins of the IgG type to react with bacterial, viral and other microbiological antigens in the gut. Bovine colostrum contains a few immunostimulatory substances, including lactoferrin. It may also contain colostrinin or proline-rich polypeptide (PRP), another possible immunomodulatory substance. The combination of specific, as well as nonspecific, IgGs and such immunomodulatory factors as lactoferrin and PRP may afford general antimicrobial protection of the gastrointestinal tract.