When the weather starts to get chillier and we start preparing to fight those winter illnesses, most people reach for the zinc or vitamin C. Certainly these are a great choice as they are heavily utilised by the immune system to build an army of white blood cells ready to fight any invaders. However, a less well known substance can also be used to help the body boost its defences or if we get caught out, to help shake off illness so we don’t suffer for long. This substance is colostrum.
Colostrum is a substance first released when a baby starts breast feeding and its purpose is to “switch on” the immune system of the baby. So for some infants who unfortunately, for one reason or another, don’t get breast fed they miss out on this effect. However it’s never too late and colostrum is now available from bovine sources for us all. So how does it work with the immune system? Well colostrum contains specific immune factors called Proline-rich-polypeptides or PRP’s. PRP’s carry instructions to direct and coordinate immune cells so they start creating the white blood cells that attack foreign invaders in the body. What is more fascinating with this natural substance is that it turns the immune system down too. It is important after you have been fighting ills and chills that the body comes off high alert. This toning down or rebalancing effect also explains why colostrum is widely used for over activity of the immune system; as is the case in allergic reactions that can result in skin or respiratory reactions.
So colostrum is something else to consider when you want to boost your defenses. It is great to use for kids who are off to kindy or school when they are exposed to a huge amount of children and illnesses for the first time. Adults can use it too and it is great to use in preparation for winter for those of us who are susceptible to everything that goes around each winter. So now when you feel you are coming down with something you can add colostrum to your arsenal of products, like vitamin C and zinc, to try and head things off before they become something more serious.
By Jane Cronin, ND, Dip Med Herb
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