You might be able to attribute many things to your mother, such as your hair color, height, or sense of direction. However, many of us may have also received an important immune-booster from our mother as infants – the colostrum in breast milk!
Colostrum is the nutrient-dense, “first milk” produced by mammals that is responsible for passing precious immune factors to a newborn. Colostrum contains impressive amounts of antibodies called immunoglobulins (such as IgA, IgG, and IgM). These antibodies act to provide a ready-made immune system to newborns by delivering their first form of protection against pathogens. This collection of antibodies from your mother was likely passed down to you as well!
Supplements such as colostrum powder can be highly beneficial as well. Colostrum supplements have been shown to significantly improve white blood cell levels in the body. White blood cells, also known as natural killer cells due to their ability to attack viruses and bacterium, are critical to immune system health.
The benefits of colostrum to the immune system are noteworthy, but this compound can also modulate inflammation by helping to lower the nasty interleukin (a type of glycoprotein produced by white blood cells) known as cytokine IL-6. IL-6 is known to be pro-inflammatory. Colostrum can also support the gut by promoting healthy intestinal cell repair and growth. It also contains antioxidants and growth factors that may promote ligament and muscle healing.
With all these benefits, it’s no wonder colostrum supplements have gained popularity. Because not all colostrum supplements are the same, to ensure optimal nutritional outcomes, make sure your colostrum source is ultra-low heat processed and ideally obtained from pasture-fed cows.