Nutritional interventions for the immune system can begin early in life as a
newborn. The first nutritional boost of the immune system occurs through
breast-feeding. Breast-feeding during the first months of life conveys many
nutritional benefits to the infant and decreases frequency and duration of acute
respiratory infection and diarrhea. Many of the positive effects of
breast-feeding occur during the first few days after birth when the colostrum is
produced. Colostrum is rich in immune proteins, amino acids, minerals, vitamins,
enzymes and growth factors that enhance the immune system. Colostrum helps
protect the baby against a variety of infections by transferring immune factors
from the mother to the infant.
Supplementing with bovine colostrum can provide the same benefits to the
immune system that are received from breast-feeding. Numerous studies have been
done using whole bovine colostrum in infants and adults for the treatment or
prevention of infections. Because colostrum contains high amounts of immune
proteins, it can help the body fight both bacteria and viruses.
One of these immune proteins is IgG. IgG can prevent viruses from entering
cells by binding to the site where the virus would enter and thereby neutralize
the virus. IgG can also bind to bacteria and prevent their movement. In addition
to these effects, IgG binds to the receptors on the immune cells to stimulate
the immune cell to attack and destroy. Bovine colostrum is one of the richest
sources of IgG. It has even higher levels of IgG than human breast milk.
Colostrum also contains a high amount of “transfer factor”. The transfer
factor can be thought of as a computer chip that is able to transfer a lifetime
of immunity from generation to generation. William J. Hennen, PhD wrote, "the
discovery of Transfer Factor is the most exciting thing to happen in immunology
in recent decades". Transfer Factors are small immune messenger molecules. Their
role is to transfer immune recognition signals between "new" or "young" immune
cells and "old" immune cells, thereby educating new immune cells about a present
or potential danger.
In addition to its immune effects, colostrum contains growth factors that
stimulate cell growth and help regulate growth hormone. These properties would
allow the body to rebuild and repair itself more effectively, and would assist
the body in recovering from illness more quickly.
The nutritional components of colostrum enhance the immune system, assist in
destroying bacteria, viruses, and degenerative diseases, and stimulate tissue
repair and growth. All of these components work together in assisting the body
to fight infections.