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How does colostrum work?

In principle, the effects of colostrum can be divided into a nutritional and a functional area. The nutritional function remains and becomes the focus with the change from the initial milk to the later mother's milk.

The preventive function constitutes the major function of the colostrum – however this decreases with the transition to the mother's milk. To meet the requirements for the preventative function, colostrum contains a series of ingredients as well as immunoglobulins, growth factors, hormones and antibacterial materials which support this function in a different way.

Colostrum - in scientific language

To this end, a small introduction: For those who would like to know more precisely:

Colostrum includes large quantities of immunoglobulins.

In particular, this applies to bovine colostrum. Here IgG place approximately 75 % of the immunglobulins in the colostrum; they neutralize toxins and mark pathogenic germs for destruction through the natural phagocytes (= macrophages, also known as leukocytes or white blood cells) of the immune system. The remaining immunoglobulins are composed of equal parts made of IgM (specific antibodies) and IgA (form an important defense barrier in mucous membranes).

Immunglobulins also survive the passage through the stomach with their acidic environment

because specific glycoproteins in colostrum form an acidic protective coat around the antibodies. Absorption of the immunoglobulins through the intestinal wall is not completely clarified however immunoglobulins taken orally could later be identified in the blood of the main organism.

In addition to the immunoglobulins, colostrum contains a number of growth factors

of which a few have a positive effect in creating collagen and healing wounds (e. g. IgF-1, IgF-2, TgF-ß). Approximately 3-5% of the colostrum make enzymes and proteins with general antibacterial and antioxidant effects, including, among other things, lysozymes, lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase. Only in the last few years has it been possible to also prove a strong antibacterial effect for the proline-rich polypeptides (PRP) present in colostrum. Some of the authors attribute to PRP an essential role in the effect of colostrum in different target organisms.
Even if characteristics and the basic effect of many individual components of colostrum are scientifically proven, the understanding of the interactions of individual colostrum components and within the body of the target organism still remains essentially unexplained. Thus, there is a lack of scientific proof that the effect of colostrum in the target organism really can be increased through the artificial enrichment of a certain part (e.  g. the immunoglobulins).