This is a product of a mother's natural milk. " Steven Rosenberg's 1985 book, Quiet Strides in the War on Cancer, first popularized the benefits of cytokines in the treatment of cancer. Since then, the same cytokines found in colostrum (interleukins-1,-6 and -10, interferon gamma and lymphokines) have been the single most researched factors in cancer research. Lactalbumin, also found in colostrum, has been found to cause the selective death of cancer cells, leaving the surrounding noncancerous tissues unaffected. And finally, Lactoferrin has similarly been reported to possess anti-cancer activity. And, as in heart disease, if viruses are responsible for either the initiation or the spread of cancer, colostrum could be one additional way to prevent the disease."


The Buzz: "The ultimate anti-aging, weight-loss and immune supplement," boast ads for New Life Colostrum. Symbiotics, Inc., its maker, and a host of other companies marketing similar products, claim that daily intake of bovine colostrum (from cows) can increase resistance to disease, enhance fat burning and muscle building, balance blood sugar and lift mood, among other vague, anti-aging claims. Popular magazines tout colostrum as nostrum for a host of illnesses like arthritis, cancer, Crohn's disease, diabetes and lupus.

The Basics: Colostrum is produced by all lactating mammals, including humans, 24 to 48 hours after giving birth, before true breast milk appears. Colostrum contains immune factors that protect against infection, as well as growth factors that promote cell development. Our bodies produce less of these immune and growth substances after adolescence. Taking colostrum, say proponents, replenishes supplies, thereby slowing the aging process. New Life Colostrum comes from New Zealand cows the company guarantees are free of artificial hormones and antibiotics. The New Life product line includes capsules, powders, liquids, snack bars, meal replacement drinks and skin creams.

The Bonus: Research suggests colostrum may have some medical uses, owing to antibacterial properties that appear to fend off ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori and aid in the treatment of colitis, AIDS-related diarrhea and gastroenteritis seen in immune-deficient children. A recent study of mice in the British journal, Gut, found colostrum protected against damage to the intestinal lining that occurs with the regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
The Bust: Colostrum is certainly important for newborns, one reason why breastfeeding is urged. But no adult of any animal species regularly consumes colostrum. Even in India, where cow's colostrum is used as a healing food, it's not consumed on a regular basis. Most important, there's virtually no published research on the use of bovine colostrum in humans to support the wild claims being made. Even Symbiotics admits, "Colostrum sounds almost too good to be true." In our experience, that usually means it is.

EN's Advice: If you suffer from gastrointestinal or immune disorders, you might discuss this alternative therapy with an open-minded physician. But we think it's premature to bet this supplement will deliver on its promises. (Anyone who is pregnant, nursing or allergic to milk proteins should avoid it.)

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