By Dr Stephen Blake, Jr., DVM
Posted with permission of the author
Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
July 1999, Volume 18, Number 2, pp 39-40
The use of bovine colostrum in medicine, dates back thousands of years. Ayurvedic doctors have used it for physical and spiritual purposes throughout the history of time. Bovine colostrum was used in the United States, and all over the world, for immune problems, prior to the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics. Thousands of scientific studies and human clinical trials worldwide, have proven bovine colostrum to be safe and therapeutic.
Current research over the past two decades, has shown that colostrum is one of the most important nutritional supplements available for enhancing the immune system and helping in tissue repair. All colostrum is not created equal and should be evaluated before use. My research has shown that colostrum should be from a dairy, where there is no use of hormones, antibiotics, nuclear contamination, or pesticides. It should be prepared without freezing and excessive heat. It should be water soluble, and for best effect, in powder form.
Pasture-fed herds are preferred source of colostrum. These herds produce colostrum that contains more beneficial enzymes, which assist in the assimilation of the colostrum and is a more diversified immune source. The bovine only supplies colostrum to it's young at birth, and there is no placental transfer of antibodies. The human infant gets 60% of it's antibody protection via the placenta and 40% from the mother's milk during the first two days after birth, as do many other species. This fact allows them to survive on milk replacement.
If a calf does not receive colostrum, they will die within a week's time. The unique property of the bovine colostrum, is that it is a universal donor for all mammals. Colostrum contains all of the immune factors necessary for protecting the newborn from bacteria, allergens, toxins, viruses. Colostrum also contains a balanced proportion of growth factors that are required for growth and healing. Current research shows that colostrum triggers at least fifty different functions in the newborn.
Over the past seven months, I have been incorporating the use of bovine colostrum into my general practice. I have found that bovine colostrum, which meets the above requirements, facilitates any modality I use; Classical Homeopathy, acupuncture, Bach Flower therapy, glandular therapy, aroma therapy, massage, nutrition. All of these modalities have benefited from using colostrum, in one way or another. I have found that colostrum creme is the best topical healing agent I have ever used in 26 years of practice. The colostrum contains Egf (Epithelial Growth Factor), IgF (Insulin-like Growth factor) and TgF-A & B (Transforming Growth Factors), alpha and beta), which are necessary for healing the epithelium, muscle, nerve, gastrointestinal tract, joints, etc.
It also contains Lactoferrins, which have natural antimicrobial activity. This is in a water soluble base that contains essential oils and vitamin E. I have used it in open wounds, suture lines, abscesses, ruptured cysts, warts, dry and moist dermatitis, insect bites, burns, etc, and found it to be the most effective product I have ever used in clinical practice. I have also used it orally for gingivitis and in the ear canal with equally good results. It is tolerated well by all the animals I have used it on, and if the animal consumes it, it receives benefit from it internally as well.
A fascinating fact about colostrum, is that it contains polyproline-rich peptides, which are a regulator of the thymus gland (master immune gland) of the body. It establishes homeostasis in the thymus gland, by regulating an underactive or overactive thymus. The research on the growth factors in colostrum has shown that salivary amylase and HC1 in the stomach, potentiate their activity. I have also observed the same principle in animals, as in myself. For that reason, I advise my clients to feed it free choice, in powder form, at least 30 minutes or longer before feeding. I suggest once per day, first thing in the morning.
Palatability in the canine has been 100%, and 90%+ in the feline. Many of my clients prefer the capsules or the tablets for the convenience of dispensing, and empty the quantity they need out of each capsule. Concentration and dose is the same either way. Colostrum has a very specific effect on the gastrointestinal tract and I have found that it improves the integrity of the intestinal mucosa better than any product I have ever used.
It facilitates the balancing of the intestinal flora, stabilizes the immune status of the gut, and aids in digestion and proper motility of the bowel. Since 70% of the gamma globulins come from Pyers Patches in the intestinal tract, and 90% of all toxins, bacteria, viruses and fungi enter the body through the gut, it only makes sense that we should concentrate our efforts on this organ system.
I have used it for IBD, gastroenteritis of all kinds, hemorrhagic enteritis, colitis, non-specific diarrheas, absorption deficiencies, pancreatitis, constipation, obstipation, and food allergies. It has helped in all of these conditions and has no adverse side effects. It is not a panacea for these problems, but if very effective in aiding the healing process necessary for resolving these conditions. I have noted that homeopathic cases of mine, that I felt were properly reportized but had not responded, were now responding with the addition of the colostrum. My conclusion, is that many of our animals are deficient in enzymes, growth factors, and immunologic components, necessary for them to respond to the homeopathic remedy in an optimum way. I have found similar situations in cases utilizing other modalities, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional, Bach Flowers and aromatherapy. The point that I am trying to make, is that it will compliment any modality you are using, and with the confidence that will do no harm.
My experience thus far, has shown that a pet's need for any particular supplement they are on can be reduced or eliminated, once they have been on the colostrum. This is probably due to the increase in the efficiency in the absorption of substances from the gut, better efficiency of tissue repair from the immunogobulin and other immune factors provided by the colostrum.
I have noted that joint-related problems that originally were helped with glucosamine and then declined, improved when they were given colostrum. From my reading, I have found that IgF, is essential for the utilization of the glucosamine, and without adequate amounts, they do not respond. It has been found that in human species, growth factor production begins declining after the onset of adolescence and by the age of 80 years is absent. Without these factors, death ensues because without them you cannot repair worn out cells in each of the organ systems, resulting in organ failure. From observing animals for nearly three decades, that animals mirror humans and respond very much the same to whatever medical modality is used. In conclusion, I would like to suggest that the fact that the bovine is a universal donor for colostrum, produces more colostrum than any other domestic animal, and that it can be obtained humanly is no accident. This natural source of a package that contains all of the immune and growth factors necessary for life is no accident and should be considered in any health related problem.
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Dr Stephen R Blake has been practicing in San Diego, California for the past 26 years, and for the past 20 years has dedicated his energy to holistic veterinary medicine. He practices classical homeopathy, acupuncture, 20 years of Bach Flower therapy, aromatherapy, massage, glandular therapy, and nutrition.