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Colostrum, transfer factor and your immune system

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Colostrum

It is NOT the milk which transfers immunity, but only a special form of mother's milk, called the 'colostrum'. Furthermore, it is NOT true that the antibodies in the mother's milk actually do any good at all for the baby's immune system.

It's a long and exciting story, but eventually the scientists discovered that ONLY the first few days of a mother's milk have the capability of transferring the immune system to the baby. That milk has its own special name: it's called 'colostrum'.

This 'transfer factor' was only found in the colostrum, not in the 'regular' mother's milk.

But, when researchers examined colostrum, they found, once again, that even though it contained lots of antibodies, it was not possible that the baby could absorb antibodies through its mouth and stomach. Yet, the antibodies were in the baby's body.

Researchers were back to trying to solve the puzzle of how the mother's colostrum could transfer this great immunity to her baby without actually transferring the antibodies themselves.

Since colostrum is only produced by the mother in the first few days of breast-feeding, it was obvious that the 'transfer factor' was in the colostrum and nowhere else.

Lots of research was done with human milk, and with human colostrum(1). But, you can guess that there was also research done to discover whether or not cow milk (colostrum from a cow) could convey the immune system improvements to a human.
colostrum and transfer factor

It worked.

Colostrum from cows

There are dozens of studies (2,3) which show that human colostrum transferred improved immunity not only to babies, but also to adults. You can find hundreds of studies on colostrum on Medline.

Then, more research was needed to show that cow colostrum (then pig colostrum and colostrum from other mammals too) would also transfer improved immunity, not only to human babies but to humans of any age.

This was an exciting discovery. As you can imagine, the cow is subject to many of the same invading germs as a human, so when a human drinks colostrum from a cow, they can often get a nice boost to their immune system. Then the researchers made the very exciting discovery that when older people drink colostrum, they have a wonderful return of their immune 'recognition factor'.

A cow's milk, right after having given birth, is called colostrum. The colostrum passes on the cow's immune system to the baby cow. But the truly amazing fact was discovered that the cow's colostrum would ALSO pass on immunity to a new-born human. The immunity is not dependent on the species of animal.

Amazing.

Now, if you INJECT cow's colostrum into a human, the human will get sick or even die. You can not do that.
colostrum and transfer factor

So, the scientists started removing things from the colostrum, just as they had removed things from the regular mother's milk, to see what was actually transferring the immunity.

First they removed the easy stuff - the sugar and the fat. The immunity was still transferred. When you have removed both the sugar and the fat from milk you have something called 'whey'. But there are still many large particles within whey, and they can be removed. You have for instance all the many different types of living cells in the colostrum. These include the immune system cells of the cow (or human). It is possible to remove all these living cells. When you do THAT, the immunity still gets transferred. Now, there are no more living cells in this colostrum but there are all sorts of large molecules and even they can be removed with various machines and techniques. With those removed, the immunity was still transferred. Incredible.

 

The transfer factor in colostrum

After they had filtered out all living cells, and they even filtered out the larger individual molecules, researchers found THE 'factor' which transfers immunity. It is a very small molecule. You could call it an 'information messenger'. It carries information with it, from the mother to the new-born baby (or from cow colostrum, properly processed into an adult human). These 'messengers' probably are equivalent to several hundreds pages of books.

Remember that older people may well have plenty of different types of antibodies cells, but their bodies are slow at recognizing what particular bug is currently invading their bodies.

It turns out that when an elderly person drinks colostrum, even though the cow has not been specifically treated, the person's immune system is greatly improved, and it is the recognition factor which is improved.

In the past, attempts were made to inject the colostrum into a human body, but this does not work. When it is injected, human bodies reject the living organisms in bovine colostrum.
colostrum and transfer factor

So, those who wanted to capture the benefits of the transfer factor from colostrum determined to freeze dry the colostrum and put it into capsules. Most companies who do this remove the milk sugars and the milk fats first, leaving what is often called 'whey'. The whey contains the transfer factor from that colostrum, but even that material would cause a person to get deathly ill if it were injected because the whey still contains many living organisms from the cow, and the human body can not use living bovine organisms.

But if whey (or colostrum) is drunk, there is no rejection by the body. The larger cells (whether dead or living) are used by the body as food, but those tiny transfer factor molecules CAN pass through from the stomach into the body, carrying the immune system recognition molecules.

Some experiments were done with freezing colostrum. The freezing kills all the living organisms, but it does not damage the tiny molecule which is the transfer factor.

So, whether you drink fresh raw colostrum or take a dried form, the transfer factors are available. They are not harmed by simple processing. This is the form of most 'colostrum' being sold in the marketplace today. I spend a lot of time researching the lowest prices on the internet for supplements, and in my opinion, the best price for high quality colostrum can be found hereicon. I also like Puritan Pride's special "Buy 1 Get 2 FREE" promotions on colostrum.

Remember that the entire philosophy of our currently drug-oriented medical paradigm is to give you some substance (drug) which is basically a poison, a toxin carefully designed to be toxic only to the bad bugs. But
wouldn't it be much better to let the IMMUNE SYSTEM do its job and help it along, not with drugs, but with well-researched nutrients which enhance the immune system, not attack the bad bugs.

In this way we can carefully say, but with complete accuracy, that colostrum and transfer factor do NOT prevent or cure any disease. Colostrum simply strengthens the immune system so that the immune system can prevent or cure disease.

If you hear someone claiming that colostrum can cure cancer, that is a false and dangerous statement. It is a statement made by an ignorant person.

If some substance is claimed to cure or prevent a disease, that is the definition of a 'drug' by the Food and Drug Administration, and all drugs must be approved the Food and Drug Administration. So, colostrum does NOT prevent or cure any disease, it strengthens the immune system.

 






 

How much is your health worth? Get the Nutribullet!

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Work in progress. My neurofeedback app for Android will be available in the Google Play Store when completed.

The Neurosky EEG headset I am wearing in the video is available here.


By Marc Lacasse

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References

(1) Pediatr Res, 1985 Jan, 19:1, 122-6

(2) Ogra, Pearay, et al., (1983), “Colostrum Derived Immunity and Maternal Neonatal Interaction,” Annals of NY Academy of Sciences, 409, pp. 82-92.

(3) Immunol Lett, 1985, 9:1, 23-7

 

 

Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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