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

A Tablespoon Of Apple Cider Vinegar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away.

(part two in a series of Old Wives Tales)

You know that old wives tale of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, right? But apple cider vinegar?!?!

I can remember always seeing my mother or father take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water every time they felt a cold coming on.  They’d tell me about the wonders of it all the time, and how they avoid going to the doctor when feeling sick. My mom would have us take it if we had canker sores in our mouth, or a cold sore. So they related it to fending off cold viruses. Sometimes my dad would take it to help with his digestion. I have never tried this in my adult life, so I researched it and found that this old wives tale is a pretty good one, and true.

Why It’s Good For You

Apple cider vinegar is a powerful detoxifying and purifying agent. This home health remedy can help boost your immune system. It breaks down the fatty, mucous and phlegm deposits within the body. By breaking down these substances, it improved the health and function of the vital organs of the body, such as the kidneys, bladder and liver, by preventing excessively alkaline urine. It helps in the prevention of high blood pressure by oxidizing and thinning the blood.

Summer Survival Tip

Apple cider vinegar also promotes digestion, assimilation and elimination, all the while neutralizing any toxic substances that enter the body. It has been found to neutralize any harmful bacteria that may be found in certain foods. When a mixture of cider vinegar and water is taken before a meal (particularly food served in restaurants or at picnics where the preparation or duration of food left uncovered and not refrigerated is questionable), it seems to prevent diarrhea or digestive upsets.  Who knew?!  That’s a handy tip for all the pool parties, bar-b-ques and picnics you attend this summer.

The Best Kind of Apple Cider Vinegar

The key though, is to purchase raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. The ones you buy on your grocery store shelf are pasteurized, distilled and filtered, which robs them of all the good stuff.  Be sure it’s organic too, since it’s made from apples, they need to be pesticide free.

Recommendations on how much an adult should take vary from 1 -2 tsp. diluted in water three times a day, to 1-2 tbsp. 3 times a day. Personally, it really depends on what remedy you are seeking. Weight loss, lowering cholesterol, immune boosting benefits all recommend 1 -2 tsp mixed in water 3 times a day. The less you dilute it, the greater the benefits will be seen. Most dilute it with 8 oz. of water, but you can go as low as you find tolerable, like 4 oz.

Treats Candida?

Apple cider vinegar is rich in vital nutrients, and natural enzymes which aid in digestion. They also restore the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the gut by creating a perfect environment for those healthy bacteria to grow, all the while keeping yeast like candida in check.  So this explains why some parents of children with autism choose this alternative method for treating their child’s overgrowth of yeast in the gut.  One exception for this is that it’s high in phenols. So if you or your child has trouble processing phenols, this may not be the best approach.

My next shopping trip to Whole Foods will include an organic, raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized bottle of apple cider vinegar.  Anything to “keep the doctor away” is worth a try.  Thanks mom (and dad)!

Read the third post in the series of “Old Wives Tales” here:

Probiotics: The Immunity Idol

(Blog 1 of 2 on probiotics)

I may not be stranded on a deserted island and vying for immunity so as not to get voted off; but sometimes my life feels like Survivor.  I’m trying my level best to keep my sons’ and my own immune system strong to fight off the assaults from nature and mankind. Flu viruses, pesticides, toxins, cancer, you name it, our immune system is our front line of defense. It really needs all the help it can get.  And my first choice to boost my family’s immune system is a good probiotic.

Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial to a person’s health, either through protecting the body against pathogenic bacteria or assisting in recovery from an illness.  Did you know that about 70% of our immune system lies within the intestinal tract and digestive organs (aka: the gut)? That makes our gut the largest immune system within our body. If your gut isn’t healthy, then your immune system may be compromised.  And you know what that can mean…illness, disease, and a overall feeling of “blah”.

Just as most everything in nature is balanced, our gut needs to maintain a healthy balance to keep it functioning properly. We have good bacteria in the lining of the gut to help keep the bad bacteria in check.

Think of it as the Heroes vs. the Villains on the TV show, Survivor.  The Heroes are probiotics (good bacteria) and battle to win immunity over the Villains (bad bacteria).  If the Heroes get wiped out by say, the “antibiotic challenge”, well then the Villains will now be able to set up their camp where the Heroes once lived, and overtake the entire island (gut).  This scenario not only leaves your immune system vulnerable in defending your body against all sorts of pathogens;  it also creates digestive problems, diarrhea or constipation.

Simply taking a daily probiotic can help improve your gut health while keeping your immune system strong.  I think of probiotics as the hidden immunity idol.  It’s our secret weapon that helps us avoid “tribal council” of the gut.  Survivors ready? I believe we are.

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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