What is colostrum exactly?
Colostrum is the first pre-milk produced by a mother when a baby is born. All mammals produce colostrum, including humans. The colostrum we’re going to be talking about in this blog, however, is bovine colostrum - the stuff derived from cows.
Ok. So what’s so great about that?
Colostrum is one of nature’s finest foods - in fact, it’s nature’s ‘first food’. It is rich in immunoglobulins - a flash word for antibodies - which are formed against various pathogens (‘bad bugs’ like viruses, bacteria, etc) by the mother and passed on in colostrum, and other immune factors to boost your immune system, plus growth factors to help you grow and repair. The whole point of colostrum is to prepare a baby’s immune system for all the little goodies and baddies it will encounter in its first few years and beyond.
Think it of like a computer download - the mother encounters all the bacteria and viruses, gets sick, fights them off, and retains a memory of what they are so next time they come along, it recognises them and defends itself before there’s a chance to get sick again. So when she’s born, the baby ‘downloads’ this information through the colostrum, so when the baby comes across these bad bugs it already has the information on what they are so it won’t get sick too.
All this is well and good, but it gets even better.
Colostrum has been shown to boost and stimulate production of adult stem cells.
Stem cells? Aren’t they those things they get from unborn babies?
Not quite! The controversial ones you’re thinking of are embryonic stem cells. The stem cells produced when you take colostrum are adult stem cells.
Alright, so what’s the difference? And what’s a stem cell?
Adult stem cells are produced in the bone marrow throughout your life. They’re like ‘blank canvas’ cells that can turn into any part of the body. So while normally a kidney cell will only become part of a kidney, and an eye cell will become part of an eye, a stem cell could become a kidney OR an eye - or pretty much any other cell in the body, for that matter. Your body uses these cells for repairing itself when something gets broken or damaged, and for growing bigger and stronger.
As you get older, your body produces less and less, and this leads to the ageing process and all the age-related illnesses associated with it.
Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, are only produced in utero, when a baby is developing in its mother’s womb. These are stem cells too, so can turn into any cell, but after a child is born they are no longer produced. These are the controversial stem cells used in research and about which the ethical debates rage.
The information on this website is for guidance only, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. If you have any symptoms that are concerning you, please seek a proper diagnosis, and if you are taking any medication please check with your GP before taking colostrum. I can not and do not promise any cures for anything.