(Health Secrets Newsletter) Colostrum has been called the promise of life. It’s the first food and the one in which all the immune and growth factors that insure health and vitality are transferred from the mother to the newborn. Research has shown that colostrum is the one supplement that can bring help to everyone that uses it, largely because of its ability to perform many of the functions of human growth hormone(HGH) in the body. Many scientists believe colostrum may be the most important preventative that can be consumed by a mammal. The value of colostrum has been documented in clinical observations and is supported by a large database. Recently scientists in London added to that database by finding that colostrum can prevent the death of human neurons and effectively treat Alzheimer’s patients. While this was going on, another research team was documenting that colostrum knocks out inflammation.
Scientists at St. George’s University had previously demonstrated that colostrum can effectively treat Alzheimer’s patients. In this study, the same research team investigated whether colostrum has effects on the aggregation and toxicity of beta amyloid, the main constituent of plaque in the brain believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. They demonstrated that pre-treatment of human neuronal cells with a peptide from colostrum for 24 hours confers protection against beta amyloid neurotoxicity. (Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging)
In investigating whether colostrum has anti-inflammatory effects on intestinal epithelial cells, scientists in Seoul, Korea stimulated human colon cancer cells with interleukin-1beta with and without bovine colostrum. They found that colostrum significantly inhibited pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and switched off markers of inflammation. (Nutrition Research)
Ancient healer works in unique ways to strengthen immunity
The use of bovine colostrum as a healing supplement is not new. It has been a centerpiece of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Ayurvedic physicians and spiritual leaders have documented both its physical and spiritual benefits. Scandinavian people have made a traditional pudding using colostrum for hundred of years in celebration of life. Even in the U.S. before the pharmaceutical companies tightened their grip, colostrum was commonly used for its antibiotic properties.
Colostrum works in a unique manner to protect the body from pathology. Most pathogens enter the system through the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. Bacteria, viruses, pollutants, contaminants and allergens must be combated there. An English physician, Dr. David Tyrell, has shown that a high percentage of the antibodies and immunoglobulins present in colostrum are not absorbed but remain in the intestinal tract. Immune factors work there to support proper immune function and healthy intestinal flora. Other immune factors from colostrum are believed to be absorbed and distributed to assist in the internal defense processes.
Colostrum is made by mammals specifically for mammals
Colostrum is the thin, cream colored fluid produced during the first few milkings of a mammal after giving birth. Because it is the carrier of immunities that are transferred from mother to infant, it is of primary importance that human offspring are breast fed. Colostrum is the essence of pure nutrition, containing immunoglobulins, growth factors, antibodies, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and other special substances designed to prime the body to face a lifetime of invasion by various microorganisms and environmental toxins bent on destruction.
While human mothers produce only a small amount of colostrum, cows produce approximately nine gallons during the first thirty-six hours after giving birth. Colostrum is produced by almost all mammals, and is not species specific. Research has shown that the immune and growth factors produced by other mammalian animals are nearly identical to those found in human colostrum.
IGF-1 from colostrum performs many of the functions of human growth hormone
After this transfer of initial growth factor from mother to child, the growing body produces its own growth hormone during the period that growth and development are taking place. The level of growth hormone in humans remains high until growth is completed. Then it declines precipitously. By the age of 30, many people produce only twenty percent of their peak levels of growth hormone. At this point skin begins to sag, energy slips away and the aging process begins.
As the aging process gets going, the immune system also begins to decline. Aging people have greater difficulty fighting off colds and flu, and their energy and zest for life ebbs away. Bones thin, hair falls out, and stamina and vigor decrease. Some turn to human growth hormone (HGH) replacement, but HGH is only available by prescription and is quite expensive at several hundred dollars a month. And HGH supplementation must typically be injected.
HGH is the closest thing people have to a fountain of youth. No other therapy has the impact on the aging body that HGH has. It is great for weight control and re-contouring the body with loss of belly fat, particularly in the mid-section area associated with increased risk of heart attack and diabetes. People who can deal with the cost and injections claim it is a miracle.
Studies show their assessment is correct. There have been no reports of anyone, anywhere, at any age developing cancer after using HGH for a year or more. Although HGH promotes cell division, it also stimulates the immune system to a level where cancer is not allowed to occur.
In the body, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is produced in response to growth hormone, and as a result is a marker for HGH. Since naturally produced HGH is released in surges and has a very short life span in the body, it is not practical to measure HGH levels directly. Because much of HGH is used by the body to produce IGF-1, which has a fairly long lifetime in the body, tests for HGH levels rely on the amount of IGF-1 present.
This means that supplementing with colostrum, which contains substantial levels of IGF-1, can provide many of the benefits of HGH without the high cost or need for daily injections. It is IGF-1 that is responsible for many of the benefits provided by colostrum. Studies indicating that bovine colostrum supplementation can increase levels of IGF-1 in the body date back to 1998. (Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Adelaide, South Australia)
In seminal research dating back to 1988, both IGF-1 and IGF-2 were found in bovine colostrum. IGF was classed as a mitogen that controls replication and repair of DNA and RNA in order to stimulate tissue growth and repair. (Journal of Biochemistry, 1988)
As people start to realize they are aging, they often turn to vitamins, minerals and herbs for the benefits and support those can provide. But plants and minerals do not have immune systems like those of people. They do not produce the same immune factors or immunoglubulins, and they do not have growth factors for skeleton, muscle or skin.
Over 5,000 studies have described the many benefits of colostrum
In research, colostrum has demonstrated the ability to kill viral and bacterial invaders, stimulate tissue repair, stimulate fat utilization for fuel, and optimize cellular reproduction to slow aging. Colostrum increases performance and speeds recovery following workouts, injury and stress. It increases mental alertness and normalizes blood sugar levels. Here are some interesting research highlights from older studies:
IGF-1 is 10 times more potent than IGF-2 in stimulating hypertrophy and cell regeneration. It is present in bovine colostrum. (International Journal of Cellular Biology, 1996)
Fibroblast growth factor, IGF-1 and epithelial growth factor are all important mitogens for healing the skin. They are all found in bovine colostrum. (Journal of Surgery Research, 1995)
Low-dose, prolonged growth hormone therapy significantly extended the life span of mice compared to controls. (Mechanics of Aging and Development, (1991)
IGF-1 was purified from bovine colostrum and found to be identical to human serum IGF-1. (Growth Regulation, 1991)
Various growth factors are produced in the gut, including epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor-alpha, transforming growth factor-beta, amphiregulin, betacellulin, and heparin-binding EGF-like peptide. These factors are also present in colostrum. EGF promotes repair of the mucosal lining of the gut. Transforming growth factor-alpha plays a role in mucosal healing. Transforming growth factor-beta inhibits cell proliferation and promotes cell differentiation. (Nutrition, 1998)
Mice with an experimentally-induced inflammatory bowel disease fed a diet rich in transforming growth factor beta gained more weight, did not develop diarrhea or prolapse, and had lower pathological scores and lower serum amyloid. This study supports the use of transforming growth factor in treatment of Crohn’s disease. (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2004)
Growth hormone levels decline with age. This may contribute to the decrease in lean body mass and increase in fat mass that occurs with aging. Levels of IGF-1 were measured in elderly men both with growth hormone supplementation and without. Results confirmed that growth hormone levels correlated with lean body and less fat mass. (New England Journal of Medicine, 1990)
Diabetic autonomic neuropathy is a major cause of morbidity and death. IGF-1 protects sympathetic neurons from death in conditions of high glucose levels, suggesting a possible etiology of the condition as well as a possible therapy for it. (Hormone and Metabolic Research, 1999)
Receptors for growth hormone and IGF-1 were isolated from human skin, indicating that growth hormone and growth factors may influence skin growth directly. (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1992)
IGF-1, IGF-2, the IGF-1 receptor and IGF binding protein act together to simulate muscle cell proliferation and differentiation. (Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1989)
Insulin inhibits the breakdown of protein in muscle, thereby increasing protein through the creation of new protein by combining the constituent parts through the use of energy. IGF-1, on the other hand, promotes muscle anabolism by stimulating protein synthesis. Even in the case of an abundance of available amino acids, insulin continues to promote muscle protein balance solely by inhibiting the digestion of muscle, while IGF-1 combined with plentiful amino acids enhances protein synthesis. (Journal of Clinical Investigations, 1995)
Colostrum and athletic performance:
Because of its ability to increase stamina and endurance, the effects of bovine colostrum on athletic performance has been the subject of many studies. Supplementing with 20 grams per day in combination with exercise training was shown to increase bone and lean muscle mass in active men and women after a period of eight weeks. (Nutrition, 2001)
The tissue composition of resistance-trained limbs experienced a significantly greater increase in circumference and cross-sectional area in people taking 60 grams of colostrum for eight weeks compared to taking whey protein for the same amount of time. (European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2004)
Bovine colostrum supplementation during training significantly increased peak anaerobic power. (Journal of Sports Science, 2003)
In a randomized, double-blind placebo study, 51 active males received 8 weeks of training while consuming either 60 grams per day of bovine colostrum or 60 grams per day of whey protein powder. Vertical jump performance in the colostrum group increased 3.0 cm, but only 1.3 cm in the whey protein group. ( 2000 Pre-Olympic Congress, Sports Medicine and Physical Education, International Congress on Sport Science, Brisbane, Australia)
Bovine colostrum supplementation at 60 grams per day provided an improvement in time trial performance in cyclists after a 2 hour ride. Improvements in performance times were: 37 seconds faster for placebo group, 134 seconds faster for the 20 grams per day colostrum group, and 158 seconds faster for the 60 grams per day colostrum group (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2002)
Bovine colostrum helped make distance cyclists retain more energy following a bout of intensive training. Those cyclists using colostrum performed at a higher level with fewer signs of fatigue during tests taken after their 5 days of intensive training (Journal of Sports Medicine, September, 2006)
Skeletal muscle is able to repair itself through regeneration. However, an injured muscle often does not fully recover its strength because the process is hindered. IGF-1 can improve muscle healing and regenerations (Muscle and Nerve, 2003)
After 8 weeks of colostrum supplementation, elite field hockey players improved significantly in the 5 x 10 meters sprint, compared to the whey fed group (Paper presented at NSCA National Conference and Exhibition, Orlando, 2000)