What are the immune factors in colostrum?

Colostrum is the pre-milk produced by all humans and mammals. It contains a myriad of immune supporting factors, as colostrum is produced in all mammals, it is vital to the health of new-borns for a mother to breast feed to pass on important immune factors through their colostrum.

The primary immune factors in colostrum are antibodies called immunoglobulins, these come in various forms (IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE and IgD) each with a specific role. Immunoglobulings are the major components of the adaptive (specific) immune system. Colostrum also contains other important immune components which are part of the innate (non-specific) immune system. These components include:
  • Lactoferrin: Antimicrobial protein which provides antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity to infants.
  • Lysozyme: Damages bacterial walls through hydrolysis.
  • Lactoperoxidase: Natural antibacterial agent.
  • Complement protein system: Variety of proteins that helps antibodies to clear pathogens.
  • Proline rich peptides (PRP): Chain of amino acids that stimulate and modulate the immune response. PRP's acts as a signal molecule to immune cells of the body.
  • Cytokines: A range of messenger peptides that control the functioning of the immune system.

It should be noted that apart from immune factors colostrum is also rich in growth factors including epidermal growth factor (EGF), insulin like growth factor (IGF-1, IGF-2), transforming growth factor (TGF β1, TGF β2), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and others. These growth factors aids natural growth and development and also aid recovery post illness or injuries.


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