Colostrum Isn’t Just for Babies

Nature’s first milk. Golden, life-sustaining. Gut healing. Immune boosting. Colostrum is not just for babies, anymore.  It is for any child or adult that may benefit from its wonderful healing properties.

What is Colostrum?

It is the first milk from humans and animals, produced by the mammary glands in late pregnancy and in the days after giving birth. During the first few days after birth, colostrum provides the necessary immune and growth factors (IgG and IgF), to stimulate growth of muscle, skin, cartilage, nerve and bone tissue.

What are the benefits?

Colostrum has been shown to aid in a variety of  disorders such as:

  • allergies and asthma
  • sinus problems, colds & flu
  • irritable bowel syndrome/leaky gut syndrome/ulcers
  • auto-immune disorders
  • diabetes
  • chronic fatigue
  • arthritis/rheumatoid arthritis

The health benefits of colostrum can be attributed to the fact that it contains 97 immune factors, 87 growth factors and a variety of different probiotics along with prebiotics that help grow and feed the beneficial flora in the colostrum and in your gut. The prebiotics in colostrum act as a food source for the ‘good bacteria’, enhancing the health of the gut and therefore immune system. Prebiotics can also improve bowel function as healthy levels of good bacteria can assist with constipation.

The high levels of IgG (immunoglobulin) provide exceptional immune boosting properties to prevent disease.  Immunoglobulins (IgG) are protein molecules that function as antibodies and play a major role in intestinal immune defense.

In 1980, a British researcher showed that a large proportion of the antibodies and immunoglobulins in colostrum are not absorbed by the body but remain in the digestive tract. Clinical studies have demonstrated that colostrum is effective in preventing intestinal infections by first keeping the bacteria from attaching themselves to the intestinal wall, and secondly by killing the bacteria themselves. Colostrum has proven capable of killing Campylobacter, Helicobacter pylori, Listeria, Salmonella, Shigellosis, and five types of streptococci.

A high level of IGF (insulin-like growth hormone) in colostrum stimulates tissue building and repair in adults.  It is highly beneficial in combating the effects of aging  joints, leaky digestive systems and assisting athletes build lean muscle.

The antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of colostrum enable it to kill such pathogens as E. coli, Candida albicans, rotaviruses, and Cryptosporidium.

The proline-rich polypeptides (PRP) in colostrum has been demonstrated to reduce or eliminate the pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with allergies and autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus). Many children with autism test positive for autoimmune disorders, and colostrum can help to regulate this dysfunction. These effects are related to PRP’s ability to inhibit the overproduction of lymphocytes (white blood cells) and T-cells.

What we experienced with Colostrum:

When you begin taking colostrum, you’ll need to start with a low dose for a week or two and then increase it. Our sons took 1/4 tsp. in the morning and night before increasing the dose to 1/2 tsp. in the AM/PM.  The first thing I noticed was emotion regulation was affected. Increased tears, anger and easy frustration levels may have been a result from the initial die-off reaction of bacteria in the gut. Once the body adjusted, these behaviors disappeared.  Then we saw allergy symptoms lessen, improved bowel function and overall health in skin tone and hair.

For families on the GF/CF diet, Kirkman Labs sells Colostrum Gold that is a liquid (flavored or unflavored). They claim that it is casein free and does not contain any synthetic hormones, pesticides or antibiotics. It does not contain sugar, soy, wheat, casein, gluten, preservatives, yeast, gelatin, artificial flavorings or colorings. But it does contain milk. We use Kirkman’s Colostrum Gold flavored version mixed in a little bit of juice. The unflavored has a pretty foul taste, so make your choice wisely based on your child’s tolerance of nasty tasting things.

For the science geek in you, read further to discover the properties of colostrum:

Growth hormones – TGF, IGF-I, IGF-II

Immunoglobulins – IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD, IgE

Lactoferrin iron binding protein – for resisting intestinal bacteria and free radical damage

Retinoic Acid – destroys viruses, stimulates healing

Proline-rich Polypeptides (PRP) – for calming overactive immune system; stimulating under-active immune system

Glycoproteins – help immune and growth factors survive the highly acidic digestive system

Lactobacillus Bifidus Acidophilus – helps promote healthy bacteria to combat Candida albicans and irritable bowel syndrome

Interferon – inhibits viral activity

Interleukin-2 – a cytokine that stimulates cell growth in the immune system

Lysoenzyme protein – attacks bacteria

Oligosaccharides – block attachment of bacteria especially S.pheumponococci to mucous membranes, thereby aiding in the prevention of respiratory inflammation

Cartilage Inducing Factor A, as well as vitamins and minerals

Seasonal Flu? Asthma? Get More Vitamin D!

Vitamin D is important for everyone, but it is especially helpful for preventing the seasonal flu, and people with asthma. My family takes vitamin D to prevent the flu and cold viruses, and for our overall health.  We live in sunny Southern California, and yes, we still need vitamin D supplements. I had our sons’ levels tested and they were deficient. They spend a lot of time outdoors too, and without sunscreen at times. So imagine if you live in climates that don’t get as much sunshine? What do you think your levels are?

The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. The reason is when the flu season hits us…during the sunless winter months. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections. So take preventative measures now. Not curative steps later when you have the virus.  Start building up your vitamin D levels in the fall, before the seasonal flu is upon us.

Now, to the other option for seasonal flu prevention; the flu vaccine. Here are some facts that aren’t necessarily touted when the CDC, WHO, and our FDA promote getting vaccinated. (By the way: what other industry other than the pharmaceutical industry have government agencies promoting their products?)

Each dose of these flu vaccines contains more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

  • Formaldehyde — a known cancer-causing agent
  • Aluminum — a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Triton X-100 — a detergent
  • Phenol (carbolic acid)
  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
  • Various antibiotics: neomycin, streptomycin, gentamicin – which can cause allergic reactions in some people

Yikes!  This alone is enough information to convince me that vaccines may do some areas of our population more harm than good. Especially kids with immune system problems, which include a lot of children with autism and ADHD.

A Japanese study from last year showed that a group of children taking vitamin D3 was 58 percent less likely to catch influenza A. That’s a higher effectiveness than any flu vaccine can claim, and doesn’t come with a barrage of potentially devastating side effects!

There people at a higher risk of complications if they contract the flu virus, such those that have asthma, and doctors recommend the flu vaccine. But did you know that not getting enough vitamin D may make asthma worse?

According to a new study, researchers found that low vitamin D levels were associated with worse lung function compared to higher vitamin D levels in people with asthma.  In addition, the study showed that people with low vitamin D levels didn’t respond as well to asthma treatments compared to people with higher vitamin D levels.  The study findings suggest that vitamin D levels influence a number of important features of asthma, including lung function, bronchospasm, and therapeutic response to steroids.

In the study, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,  researchers compared vitamin D levels and asthma severity in 54 people with asthma.

The results showed that people with higher vitamin D levels had better lung function measures than people with lower vitamin D levels. In particular, people with low vitamin D performed worse on tests of lung function and airway hyper-responsiveness, two hallmarks of asthma.

Researchers say vitamin D levels were directly related to the participants’ score on the breathing tests: the lower the vitamin D levels, the worse their performance.

Vitamin D is important for everyone, especially if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.  An article published May 1, 2010 in the American Academy of Pediatrics News recommends pregnant women take 4,000 IUs of vitamin D daily to fight infection and disease, to maintain good health, and to deliver healthier, stronger babies.

But even this seemingly large amount may be seriously inadequate in many women. Some may need more than 10,000 units per day and the only way to know for sure is to have your vitamin D level tested.

Since we already know that most children and teenagers are vitamin D-deficient, I urge you to get your child’s vitamin D levels tested, and if found deficient, increase their daily vitamin D supplement between 2,000 – 5,000 IUs/day.  Do this, and they’ll be far less likely to catch any cold or flu this year.

Related post:  “How My Kids Fight The Flu Season”

How My Kids Fight The Flu Season

If my boys were to explain this, it would involve swords and light sabers along with some pretty cool sound effects.  My method is not that dramatic nor fun-filled, but it’s effective.  With the flu season still in full swing where we live, my kids have thus far stayed healthy. They’ve had a few, short-lived colds, but overall, they’ve fared well this winter season.  I didn’t even realize until the other day when a friend was telling me her horror stories about her entire family just getting over the stomach flu, seasonal flu and head colds that my kids did not have any type of flu virus this winter.  First time ever, that I can recall.  How is that, you may wonder? Luck? I don’t think so.

My family does not get annual flu shots. My kids’ bodies just can’t handle the toxic additives that are in the flu vaccinations; it does them more harm than good.  So then how do I protect my kids from the seasonal flu? Well, we have a variety of police patrolling our house and one of them is the “hand washing” police. Everyday when they get home from school, the first thing they have to do is wash their hands. Now I know they aren’t washing their hands before they eat lunch at school; they are kids after all.  So how are they staying healthy?

I believe the secret lies in boosting their immune system to fight off those nasty bugs. The key immune boosters at our house are vitamin D and zinc. Let’s not forget important ones like vitamins C and A, which are also great for fighting colds, but vitamin D has gotten a lot of attention lately for its ability to increase immune activity.

Because humans obtain most vitamin D from sun exposure and not from their diet, a varying percentage of the population is vitamin D deficient, at any time, during any season, although the percentage is higher in the winter. We live in sunny southern California and both of my son’s vitamin D levels were tested and came back low. I know you’re thinking, wow, lots of sunshine and still not high enough vitamin D levels? That’s crazy!  Imagine the levels in kids living in the northernmost hemisphere.

Circumstantial evidence has implicated wintertime low levels of vitamin D to the seasonal increases in colds and flu, but some smaller studies have also hinted at a link between low vitamin D level and a higher risk of respiratory infections.  In one study* the results showed those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 36% more likely to report having a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with higher levels. This association persisted during all four seasons and was even stronger among those with a history or asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Unless you eat a lot of fish and drink a lot of milk, you just can’t get enough vitamin D from your diet. That is why I supplement it at our house every day and don’t wait for a cold to begin.

The other immune booster in our house is zinc. It’s been shown that zinc deficiency impairs the immune response in our bodies. I know that there are popular over-the-counter remedies for treating cold and flu viruses including Zicam and Cold EEZE zinc lozenges.  Problem is, you’re waiting until you get sick to take any form of zinc.  Think preventative, not just curative.

My sons take between 20 – 40 mg. of a zinc supplement every day.  Along with the 1,000 I.U.s of vitamin D3 per day, they are winning the battle against cold and flu viruses.  And to their disbelief, no swords or light sabers were necessary.

* Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed information on vitamin D levels and respiratory infections from nearly 19,000 adults and adolescents who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) from October 1988 to October 1994.

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