InfantsColostrum is a form of milk produced by
the mammary glands in late pregnancy and the few days after giving
birth. Human and bovine colostrums are thick, sticky and yellow.
In humans, it has high concentrations of nutrients and
antibodies, but it is small in quantity. Colostrum is high in
carbohydrates, high in protein, high in antibodies, and low in fat
(as human newborns may find fat difficult to digest).
Newborns have very small digestive systems, and colostrum
delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form.
It has a mild laxative effect, encouraging the passing of the
baby's first stool, which is called meconium.
This clears excess bilirubin, a waste product of dead red blood
cells which is produced in large quantities at birth due to blood
volume reduction, from the infant's body and helps prevent jaundice.
Colostrum contains large numbers of antibodies called "secretory
immunoglobulin" (IgA) that help protect the mucous membranes in the
throat, lungs, and intestines of the infant.
Leukocytes are also present in large numbers; these begin
protecting the infant from harmful viruses and bacteria.
Ingesting colostrum establishes beneficial bacteria in the
digestive tract. Premature babies tend to fare better on human
colostrum than commercial infant formulas.
Human milk contains special components, called growth modulators,
that help the premature baby's digestive system adjust to oral
Research indicates that premature babies fed formula tend to
vomit more and continue tube feeding longer than those fed human
colostrum and breast milk.
Bovine colostrums are the "early" milk produced by
cows during the first several days post-parturition.
This "early" milk has a nutrient profile and
immunological composition that differs substantially
from "mature" milk. Included in the nutrient profile
are higher amounts of immunoglobulins, growth
factors, cytokines, and nucleosides than are found
in milk. Bovine colostrums are also rich in
oligosaccharides, antimicrobials, and
immune-regulating factors. Available evidence
suggests a beneficial effect of supplementation of
bovine colostrums in improving body composition,
aspects of athletic performance, diarrhea in persons
with immune-deficiency syndromes, NSAID-induced
gastrointestinal disturbances, and aspects of the
acute phase response that occurs secondary to
surgery. Specific hyperimmune bovine colostrums,
produced to have high neutralizing titer activity
against Cryptosporidia, H. pylori, measles,
rotavirus, and Shigella sp., appear to have clinical
utility in conditions associated with these infectious organisms
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