COLOSTRUM BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES: A REVIEW
(Putative source site inactive 5/2015: )
Colostrum, and, particularly, two of its main components, lactoferrin (Lf) and proline-rich peptide (PRP), act to regulate and balance the immune system. This biological activity is not only important in newborns just beginning to live in a hostile environment, but also in adults with over- or under-active immune systems, perhaps resulting from various types of stress. Colostrum and its components also have potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities to help protect the body from invading pathogens. Colostrum and its growth factors enhance wound healing, cartilage formation, and bone repair, stimulate muscle protein synthesis/inhibit protein breakdown, benefit GI tract structure and function, and act on the immune system to inhibit tissue inflammation and allergic response. The Lf component of colostrum also acts to regulate iron absorption and availability, and has been shown to significantly inhibit tumor development, growth, and metastasis. Colostrum and its components exert their biological activities when given orally, in some cases as a dietary supplement; communication with the immune system via the oral mucosa is believed to be important in initiating many of colostrum's immunomodulatory activities. Moreover, the composition of bovine (cow) and human colostrum is similar, and colostrum from both sources is biologically active in its own as well as other mammalian species when given orally or injected.