Colostrum (also known as beestings or first milk) is a form of milk produced by the mammary glands in late pregnancy and the few days after giving birth.
Human and bovine colostrums are thick, sticky and yellowish.
In humans, it has high concentrations of nutrients and antibodies, but it is small in quantity.
Colostrum is high in carbohydrates, high in protein, high in antibodies, and low in fat (as human newborns may find fat difficult to digest).
Newborns have very small digestive systems, and colostrum delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form.
It has a mild laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the baby’s first stool, which is called meconium.
This clears excess bilirubin, a waste product of dead red blood cells which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood volume reduction, from the infant’s body and helps prevent jaundice.
Colostrum contains large numbers of antibodies called “secretory immunoglobulin” (IgA) that help protect the mucous membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestines of the infant.
Leukocytes are also present in large numbers; these begin protecting the infant from harmful viruses and bacteria.
Ingesting colostrum establishes beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
Premature babies tend to fare better on human colostrum than commercial infant formulas.
Human milk contains special components, called growth modulators, that help the premature baby’s digestive system adjust to oral feedings.
Research indicates that premature babies fed formula tend to vomit more and continue tube feeding longer than those fed human colostrum and breast milk.
A 2000 survey by Ohio State University titled “Potential Anticancer Activity of Milk and Its Components” finds that the glutathione precursors in colostrum are protective against skin, colon, and breast cancers.
A study paper on colostrum and glutathione by the Institute of Colostrum Research also notes that glutathione possesses potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as lymphocytes (T cells and B cells) are dependent on it for proper function. Finally, glutathione’s even been shown “to enhance athletic performance by increasing muscle strength and weight gain.”
Supplementing with glutathione alone, however, is difficult, as it’s not readily absorbed by the body. Nor do all colostrum supplements provide glutathione and its precursors at optimal concentrations. To reap glutathione’s benefits fully then, it’s important to find a colostrum that is “complete,” with no components removed, and one that’s been collected within hours of a birth.
a study of human milk from the September 2009 Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that total antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity was “higher in colostrum than transitional and mature milk.”
For thousands of years in India, colostrum has been recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for their patients for its healing powers. In mainstream western medicine, colostrum was extensively used by doctors for immune support and helping arthritis patients, especially prior to the introduction of sulfa drugs and penicillin. Polio vaccine developer Dr. Albert Sabin was also a colostrum fan, especially when he discovered it contains antibodies that are able to protect against polio. Don’t let oxidative stress and toxic load get your glutathione levels down. By making glutathione-rich, first-milking Colostrum6 part of your daily routine, you can maximize your body’s production of antioxidants and its detoxification processes to get the natural support you need against illness and aging.
References:“Glutathione in Sickness and in Health.” The Lancet Volume 351, Number 9103 28 February 1998.“Potential Anticancer Activity of Milk and Milk Components.” http://www.fst.ohio-state.edu/People/HARPER/Functional-foods/Potential%20Anti- Cancer%20with%20Milk.htm“Glutathione: A Powerful Antioxidant Found in Colostrum.” http://www.colostrumresearch.org/Studys/ SO47_Glutathione%20and%20Colostrum.htm
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