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Colostrum is the first precious gift from mother to her baby. It contains a balance nutrient composition that promotes healthy development. Although colostrum is nutritious, breastfeeding practice is not that common. According to a 3-week survey done by the Family Health Service under the Hong Kong Department of Health, about 12% of mother breastfed their children for the first 6 months, which is 5.8 times higher than the figure in 1998. However, this rate is still lower than that of other countries.


For those mothers who cannot breastfeed their babies, infant formula is the only option. Although the nutrient content in the infant formula is close to that of breast milk, it lacks the unique immune regulating constituents present in breast milk. Therefore, infant formula may not be sufficient to strengthen the baby’s defense system.


Differences between bovine milk and bovine colostrum:
During the first 6 months, baby’s immunity is still under development. They are susceptible to diseases. For this reason, it is important to help build their defense system.

It is no doubt that breast milk is the perfect option, but bovine colostrum, indeed, is a good way too. Bovine colostrum is a form of milk produced by cow during the first few days after the calf’s birth. It not only contains the nutrients that regular milk has but also has a high concentration of protein, vitamins and minerals. In addition, it also contains many important beneficial substances, such as IgG, growth factors, lactoferrin and whey protein.


The concentration of IgG in bovine colostrum is almost the same as that in human colostrum. In addition, some of the immune substances present in bovine colostrum can adhere to some harmful organisms in the gastrointestinal tract, which can help improve digestive health and enhance nutrient absorption. The structure of immune-enhancing substances and growth factors in bovine colostrum are similar to those found in human colostrum, so it is easily absorbed. Moreover, the concentration of immune-compounds is about 40 times higher than human colostrum. Therefore, bovine colostrum supplement is beneficial for promoting healthy development and building a strong immune system.


How to choose high quality colostrum:
One of the common standards to classify the nutritional value of colostrum is based on the concentration of IgG. Therefore, it is important to watch out for the content of IgG when purchasing colostrum supplement. In fact, the level of IgG is related to time. Colostrum taken within 24 hours after giving birth will have more than 40% of the protein as IgG, which is 100 times higher than that of human colostrum. After 24 hours, the IgG content will decrease dramatically to about 4%, and the level would be almost identical to regular milk after 72 hours.


Besides milk harvesting time, pure and undiluted colostrum product is always better than those colostrum products that are diluted with milk powder. Choosing a colostrum supplement that is processed fresh and produced by a low-heat technique is also a must. It’s the only way to ensure that the beneficial components in colostrum retain their maximum activity and health benefits.


Other issues that are important include the sources and manufacturing company. Look for those companies that manufacture in compliance with the requirements for cGMP, HACCP or ISO as these are some well-known certifications for good quality control.

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