Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Colostrum as an Immune Booster

By Dr. Anthony Kleinsmith

Let's meet the Immune Factors Contestants

There are two types of Immune Factors found in Colostrum, immuno-regulating substances and gut protective substances. Immuno-regulating substances assist in the overall functioning and regulation of the immune system. Gut protective substances are generally very localized and are restricted in their area of expertise. Their effects are usually exerted in the gut area of the body.

Immuno-Regulating Substances

Thymosin (Alpha and Beta Chains) - This hormone has two protein-based chains which are present separately in colostrum. These chains either act together to activate, develop and maintain the immune system, or they act independently on the thymus gland.

Proline-Rich Peptide (PRP) - This small protein acts like a hormone as it works on the thymus and other immune system organs. It keeps these organs from over-reacting to an insult. It is also called Thymulin.

Cytokines - Various cells produce these small proteins. They induce specialized white blood cells, signal and help the white blood cells to the insult site.

Lymphokines. Proteins of varying sizes that are produced by different types of white blood cells that tell related cells to transform themselves into more functional cell types that can release substances capable of destroying an invading microorganism.

Let's meet the Gut Protective Substances

Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA) - These are complex proteins which are also called antibodies. These proteins are a significant portion of proteins found in colostrum. A mother cow's immune system produces these antibodies throughout her life as she responds to multiple different microorganisms. These proteins are then transferred prior to parturition into the colostrum. These antibodies react against fungi, viruses and bacteria that attack the gastrointestinal tract in humans.

Transfer Factors - These small proteins are created as the body responds to exposure of specific types of microorganisms, especially microorganisms that live for long periods of time in deep tissues. These proteins are limited in their effectiveness in defending against microorganisms; instead, they act with a variety of white blood cells as they strive to keep microorganisms in check.

Lactoferrin - This protein attaches to iron, and it is very effective when certain aerobic bacterias require iron for reproduction. Lactoferrin can impede the growth of microorganisms in the gut when working with a specific antibody.

Transferrin - This mineral-binding carrier protein also attaches to iron that is available. It can either act together with Lactoferrin or on its own to impede the growth of microorganisms in the gut.

Lysozyme - This is a very powerful enzyme, because it can attach itself and leave holes in the cell walls of degrading proteins and bacteria

Lactoperoxidase - This mildly effective enzyme can attach itself and interfere with the replication of degrading proteins and bacteria

Xanthine Oxidase. Another mildly effective enzyme that can also attach to the wall of certain bacteria, degrade different proteins than those affected by lactoperoxidase and also interfere with the ability of the bacteria to replicate.

White blood cells (leukocytes). Primarily three types of functional white blood cells are present in colostrum, including neutrophils, macrophages and polymorphonuclear cells. Each has the ability to phagocytize microorganisms and other foreign bodies and apply substances carried internally to the destruction of the microorganisms. Their functions are dramatically enhanced when antibodies first attach to the microorganisms.

Oligosaccharides and Glycoconjugates - These complex carbohydrates adhere to the inner surface of the gastrointestinal tract to prevent microorganisms from attaching.

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