Colostrum or “First Milk” is a highly bioactive form of milk and is designed to support a newborn’s immune function. Colostrum can effectively pass on many of the mother’s immunity characteristics during the period after birth, where the newborn is still vulnerable to infection from a world full of invisible germs and microbes. Colostrum does this because it is rich in Bioactive Dairy Proteins and when consumed daily, it can promote several significant immune health benefits.
How Effective are the Bioactive Dairy Proteins at Supporting Immune Health?
According to a 2014 article published by Dr Joost van Neerven, a researcher from Wageningen University in The Netherlands, children that grew up on Dutch dairy farms, and who also drank “raw” farm milk on a daily basis, had far fewer allergies than those children who grew up in city environments.
When all other factors were considered, Dr van Neerven concluded that this protection against allergies is due to the regular consumption of raw farm milk, which is a good source of Bioactive Dairy Proteins. He reported that heat processing of milk for city supply does not have this beneficial immune effect because the essential bioactive, immune-supporting dairy proteins found in raw milk are broken down and destroyed during pasteurization. Dr van Neerven suggests that these heat-sensitive bioactive immune dairy proteins are responsible for this striking difference in allergies problems between farm and city children. Unfortunately, raw milk is not widely consumed or commercially available in most counties around the world because, unless raw milk can be consumed immediately, there is a strong risk for bacterial contamination during its storage.
While raw farm milk is not readily available to most of us, fortunately a daily supply of colostrum is, in the form of colostrum powdered drinks; and it is an even better source of bioactive dairy proteins than raw farm milk. The level of bioactive dairy proteins (Immunoglobulin) in raw farm milk is small when compared to their concentration in colostrum; they are virtually non-existent in proceeded city milk.
Bioactive Dairy Protein Concentration
Immunoglobulin (Colostrum) 5.5-6.8%
Immunoglobulin (Raw farm milk) 0.3-0.5%
Immunoglobulin (processed milk) None
As further evidence of the effectiveness of the bioactive dairy proteins in colostrum, a research group from Italy, led by Dr Cesarone published a landmark clinical study in 2007, which has been widely cited. This study compared the protective effects colostrum, compared against the flu vaccine.
- The FIRST group of subjects (n=37) received 400 mg colostrum per day for two months and were then followed up, without any supplementation, for an additional three months, making the study period five months long.
- The SECOND group of subjects (n=41) received the flu vaccine, PLUS 400 mg colostrum per day, for the first two months.
- The THIRD group of subjects (n=36) received the flu vaccine Only.
- The FOURTH of subjects (n=23) were the control group and received no treatment or intervention.
At the end of the Five-month study, the following results were found.
Number of Episodes of Flu reported
- Group One (Colostrum ONLY) 13
- Group Two (Flu Vaccine PLUS Colostrum) 14
- Group Three (Flu Vaccine ONLY) 57
- Group Four (Nothing – Control) 41
Number of Days with Flu
- Group One (Colostrum ONLY) 4.6
- Group Two (Flu Vaccine PLUS Colostrum) 4.3
- Group Three (Flu Vaccine ONLY) 11.3
- Group Four (Nothing – Control) 13.2
This research suggests that colostrum was THREE times more effective than the seasonal flu vaccine.
A similar study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2003. Two researchers from the University of South Australia, Dr Brinkworth & Dr Buckley, in a double-blind placebo control clinical study, gave 93 subjects 600 mg/day colostrum for eight weeks. Those taking the colostrum experienced significantly fewer symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, i.e. colds and flu than those not taking colostrum (the placebo group, which consisted of 81 subjects.)
This research only represents a small fraction of the clinical evidence for the health benefits, which from regularly taking colostrum. We will examine more of the published research that confirms the benefits of adult supplementation. If you would like to start taking colostrum, make sure to consider the Award winning formula; LAZU Honey and Colostrum for daily health and wellness. This is derived from grass-fed cows and ones with no artificial growth hormones.
*** van Neerven RJJ,. The effects of milk and colostrum on allergy and infection: Mechanisms and implications Animal Frontiers Apr. 2014, Vol. 4, No. 2
*** Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Di Renzo A, et al. Prevention of influenza episodes with colostrum compared with vaccination in healthy and high-risk cardiovascular subjects: the epidemiologic study in San Valentino. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2007;13(2):130-136.
***Brinkworth GD & Buckley JD,. Concentrated bovine colostrum protein supplementation reduces the incidence of self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in adult males. Eur J Nutr 42: 228–232 (2003)