NZ Natural Health Products to strengthen immune system response to common ills


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Colostrum and Athletes


The natural environment contains a large variety of infectious microbial agents - bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If left unchecked and allowed to multiply, pathogenic species will eventually kill the host. In normal healthy animals most infections are of limited duration and cause little if any permanent damage. This is due to the immune system - a natural defence mechanism that helps ward-off or combat infectious agents. The immunoglobulins play an integral role in this defence system in that they form antibodies. The most prevalent immunoglobulin in all species of animals is IgG. In human trials it has been demonstrated that specific antibodies exist in bovine milk which are effective against both enteropathogenic and enterogenic organisms.

The effect of Southern Country Colostrum on the immune system is particularly relevant to athletes, due to the suppression of their immune system which occurs during intense physical training. Increasing evidence indicates that prolonged and intensive exercise is associated with physiologic stress and inflammation, related changes in immune function , and an increased infection risk (Nieman, D.C. 2000).

The following graph illustrates the effect of an increasing workload on the risk of infection;

Colostrum - infection risk graph.









This illustrates the difference in a moderate workload as compared to a very high workload. A moderate workload causes a boost in the immuno-surveillance occurring in the body, while a very high workload has a large negative effect on the immune system, which will lead to a large increase in the risk of infection (Nieman, D.C. 2000).

Why Use Southern Country Colostrum?

Southern Country Colostrum is a colostrum powder which therefore contains a high immunoglobulin content. The typical composition of Southern Country Colostrum is as follows;

Component %

Immunoglobulin G 15-25

Protein (dry basis) 81.0

Moisture 5.0

Fat <1.0

Supplementation of Southern Country Colostrum in the diet for these athletes will boost their immune system, helping to prevent the illnesses that typically follow intense training or long periods of training.

Southern Country Colostrum powder also contains many minor components which aid in physical performance both during and after training and competition situations. It is likely that the growth factors present increase the rate of muscle recovery after exercise and improve the physical output during physical activity. Southern Country Colostrum  contains anti-inflammatory factors, which reduce swelling associated with continuous use of joints. It also contains lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase which have a combination activity against microorganisms.

Excerpt: "Colostrum – Natures Gift to the Immune System".

Beth M Levy. ISBN 0-9642703-7-4 (1997)

"Effective natural supplements without side effects for individuals looking for enhanced athletic ability and muscular growth are available. Body builders and athletes do not need to rely upon massive doses of potentially harmful and expensive hormones to obtain enhancement.

Colostrum is a rich source of natural growth factors (Ballard). Protein breakdown, which is initiated by insulin, is inhibited by growth factors. Colostrum contains Insulin-like Growth Factor I and II ( IGF-I and IGF-II) which are pro-insulin hormones which have anabolic effects. Both bovine and human colostrum growth factors have demonstrated the ability to stimulate protein synthesis and inhibit protein degradation (Francis).

TGF-1 is a peptide (amino acid chain) which resembles the hormone insulin. It is the main catalyst to begin muscle cell division after meals. As insulin moves sugar and amino acids into muscle tissue, the hypothalamus and pituitary secrete growth hormone which in turn stimulates an increased uptake of nutrients by muscles and causes the liver to release IGF-I which stimulates growth of tissues by increasing the number of cells (Burke).

The IGF-I in bovine colostrum contains the identical amino acid segment on the front of the bovine molecule which, when split by digestive acids in the human stomach, releases a molecule identical to human IGF-I (Burke). Bovine Colostrum contains one of the highest concentrations of IGF-I available in nature.

Other growth factors present in Colostrum include Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-Beta). Each of these is capable of stimulating cell division and tissue development (Burke).

Anabolic and tissue repair functions of Insulin-like Growth Factors have been studied extensively, and one could speculate that healing of injuries and post workout recovery could be improved as well.


Faster recovery time, Enhanced Performance

Finnish Olympic Ski Team members supplementing colostrum confirm its athletic benefits. Blood creatine-kinase levels were measured over a seven day period of heavy training. Creatine-kinase is a critically important muscle cell enzyme which acts as a marker for muscle cell damage. Compared to the Ski Team members who received placebo’s, the athletes who received colostrum showed one-half the blood creatine-kinase levels after four days. The individuals in the colostrum supplementation group also reported that they felt better and that their performance was improving. The researchers theorize that the IGF-I in colostrum could encourage muscle cells to repair themselves more quickly after stress from intense exercise (Anderson)".


    1. Ballard.J.F., et al. The Relationship between the Insulin content and Inhibitory Effects of Bovine Colostrum on Protein Breakdown in cultured cells. Journal of Cellular Physiology (1982)110, 249-254

    2. Ballard.F.J., Nield M.K., Francis G.L., Knowles S.E. Regulation of intracellular protein degradation by insulin and growth factors. Acta. Biol. Med. Ger (1981);40 (10-11):1293-300

    3. Francis, Geofry,Upton, Faye,et al; Insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 in bovine colostrum. Biocem.Jnl.(1998) 251; pp95-103

    4. Burke.E.; Colostrum as an athletic enhancer and help for AIDS. Nutrition Science News, May (1996); pp.30-32.


Stability of Immunoglobulin G in the Digestive Tract

An important consideration is the stability of antibodies in the digestive tract. In a study conducted to ascertain the stability of bovine immunoglobulins to proteolytic digestion it was revealed that antibodies which possess specific activity can pass through the gastrointestinal tract of infants without being completely destroyed. This indicates that the specific action of antibodies in the gastrointestinal tract is not adversely affected and that biological activity is retained. It is further suggested that the IgG in Colostrum manages to escape digestion because of a high buffering capacity of Colostrum. In addition, bovine Colostrum is also thought to contain a globulin-like protein which inhibits proteolytic enzymes - trypsin in particular.

Suggested Dosage of Southern Country Colostrum for Athletes

Athletes can take up to 15gms per day of our colostrum. We now sell colostrum in a bulk 250g powder pack which makes it much more

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Last modified: December 03, 2012