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.
Let’s meet the Immuno-Regulating Substances
Thymosin (alpha & beta chains). A hormone composed of two protein-based chains that are separately present in bovine colostrum. The chains act on the thymus gland independently or in concert with each other to stimulate activation, development and maintenance of the immune system.
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. Small proteins produced by various cells in the body that induce the generation of specialized types of white blood cells, signal them to come to the site of an insult and help in their passage through tissues.
Lymphokines – These proteins are created by various types of white blood cells and are of varying sizes. These proteins tell similar cells to change themselves so that they can release substances which can destroy invading microorganisms
Let’s meet the Gut Protective Substances
Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA) – Most of the proteins found in colostrum are these Immunoglobulins, better known as antibodies. As the mother cow responds to microorganisms throughout her life and fights them off, her immune system produces these antibodies which are then transferred into colostrum before she delivers her calf. These antibodies can fight off viruses, fungi and bacteria that infect a person’s gastrointestinal tract.
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 mineral-binding carrier protein attaches to iron that is available. Some aerobic bacterias need iron in order to reproduce. Lactoferrin is effective as it strives to impede the growth of microorganisms found in the gut. Some studies show Lactoferrin as an immuno-regulating substance that has anti-tumor, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
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 enzyme attaches itself to cell walls of pathogenic bacterias as well as degrading proteins. Once it attaches, it is very powerful because it leaves holes in the walls of the bacteria.
Lactoperoxidase – This enzyme also attaches itself to cell walls of bacterias and degrading proteins. Once it attaches, it is mildly effective as it interferes with the bacteria’s replication.
Xanthine Oxidase – This mildly effective enzyme is similar in effect to Lactoperoxidase, because it can also attach itself and interfere with the replication of different degrading proteins and bacteria than Lactoperoxidase.
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes) – Neutrophils, Macrophages and Polymorphonuclear are three types of white blood cells which are in colostrum. These cells are particularly effective when antibodies first attach to the threatening microorganisms. They can engulf and destroy the threatening microorganisms as well as apply substances which internally destroy the microorganisms.
Oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates. Complex carbohydrates (sugars) that can adhere to specific sites on the inner surface of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent the attachment of microorganisms.