In Brief

The Maasai of Kenya
The pastoral Maasai have known the benefits of first milk for countless generations...
Dr Lotte Hughes, Historian of the Maasai, Oxford read more

McGill University, Montreal
There's a very important gift a new mother gives her baby just after birth
Everyday Science read more

Lactoferrin and its biological functions
A unique polyfunctional protein that influences cell proliferation and differentiation...
Biochemistry (Mosc) read more

Antimicrobial and antiviral activity
Lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase are very promising for use in functional foods....
British Journal Nutrition read more

Oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates
Competitive inhibitors for pathogen binding sites on the epithelial surfaces ...
New Zealand Dairy Research read more

Lactoperoxidase properties
Catalyses the inactivation of a wide range of micro-organisms....
Brit J Nutrition read more

Nucleosides and nucleotides
Natural bioactive substances important for optimal metabolic functions...
Br J Nutrition read more


colostrum is in the first milk produced by the cow for her calf. High in nutrients and protective agents, it contains immune and growth factors essential to the calf's survival. For us, it can help fitness and prevent disease

Colostrum has received widespread attention as a foodstuff since the 1990s, when it became commercially available. But for thousands of years across many cultures, colostrum or 'first milk' have been prized sources of nourishment.
To view a comprehensive list of research studies, visit our news library.
Colostrum in Britain, Europe and the rest of the world British dairy farmers have given the surplus first milk to their families for hundreds of years, either drinking it straight from the cow or making it into a traditional dessert called 'Beestings Pudding'. Ayurvedic physicians in India have used colostrum for countless generations. It is highly valued by the Maasai herdsmen in Kenya, and its use is widespread in Finland and Scandinavia. Elite athletes around the world take colostrum to help their recovery. In the United States, mainstream medical practitioners recommended colostrum as a natural cure before the discovery of penicillin and sulfa drugs. In the 1950s, colostrum was first used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Dr. Albert Sabin, who developed the polio vaccine, found cows colostrum then contained antibodies against human polio and recommended it as a children's supplement. 300 tons of colostrum is now sold in the USA each year and it recently became available in the UK through neovite.
Colostrum components Colostrum has two groups of components: immune system factors and growth factors. The key elements in these groups are:

Immunoglobulins(A, D, E, G and M) the most abundant of the immune factors found in colostrum; IgG neutralises toxins and microbes in the lymph and circulatory system; IgM destroys bacteria while IgE and IgD are highly antiviral. Lactoferrin an antiviral, anti-bacterial, iron-binding protein with therapeutic effects in HIV, Cytomegalovirus, herpes, Chronic fatigue Syndrome, Candida albicans and other infections. Lactoferrin helps deprive pathogens of the iron they require to reproduce and releases iron into the red blood cells enhancing oxygenation of tissues. Lactoferrin also modulates cytokine release and receptors have been found on blood cells such lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages and platelets.
Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs) these are hormones or hormone-like substances that appear to help regulate some functions of the thymus gland. They appear to stimulate an underactive immune system or inhibit an overactive immune system in autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, chronic fatigue syndrome and some allergies and hyperreactive conditions such as asthma, urticaria and allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
Growth Factors Epithelial growth factor (EGF) Insulin-like growth factor-I and II (IGF-1 and IGF-II) Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) Platelet-derived growth factor PDGF) Transforming growth factors A & B (TGF-A and B) Growth hormone (GH)
These all help stimulate cell and tissue growth by stimulating DNA formation. Genetically engineered versions of IGF-1 and GH are now marketed as longevity and AIDS drugs. They are found naturally and in high concentrations in colostrum.
Several studies show that these growth factors are capable of increasing T-cell production, accelerate healing, balance blood glucose, reduce insulin need, increase muscle and bone growth and repair while metabolising fat for fuel. Studies have also shown that dairy colostrum can increase the serum levels of IGF-1 in male athletes. As it has been shown that IGF-1 in colostrum is only absorbed into the blood stream in fragmented segments, it is likely that this increase in serum IGF-1 levels occurs via the combination of training, conditioning of the digestive tract and possible enhanced stimulation of human IGF-1 synthesis via the intestinal mucosa.

stimulate the production of interferon which slows viral reproduction and penetration of cell walls. Enzymes lactoperoxidase-thiocyanate, peroxidase and xanthine oxidase destroy bacteria by releasing of hydrogen peroxide. Lysozyme a hydrolysing agent and immune system booster capable of destroying bacteria and viruses on contact. This compound destroys the peptidoglycan layer of bacterial cell walls leading to the death of such organisms (both gram positive and gram negative organisms are affected).
Cytokines interleukins that regulate the duration and intensity of the immune response, are responsible for cell to cell communication, boost T-cell activity and the production of immunoglobulins. Interleukin-10 is strongly anti-inflammatory, especially in connective tissue disorders such as arthritis.
Trypsin and Protease Inhibitors prevent the destruction of immune and growth factors in colostrum from being broken down in the GI tract; they also prevent Helicobacter pylori from attaching to the walls of the stomach and can have a beneficial role in the treatment of peptic ulcers. Lymphokines hormone-like peptides produced by activated lymphocytes that mediate the immune response. Oligo-polysaccharides and Glycoconjugates attract and bind to major enteric pathogens such as Strep., E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, Entamoeba, Shigella, Clostridium difficile Toxins A & B and Cholera preventing them from attaching or entering the mucous membranes.
Orotic Acid
stops the formation of pyrimidine nucleotides and prevents haemolytic anemia. Other Immune Factors some of the documented immune factors include secretory IgA, IgA Specific Helper, B Lactoglobulin, Lactalbumin, Albumin, Prealbumin, Alpha 1-Antitripsin, Alpha 1-Fetoprotein, Alpha 2-macroglobulin, Alpha 2-AP Glycoprotein, C3, C4 and Orosomucoids.