by Jeffrey Dach MD
Dr Maria Cesarone from Italy published her study in 2007 in which she compared the efficacy of oral colostrum to that of influenza vaccination in preventing flu illness. Dr Cesarone found a two month treatment with oral colostrum was three times more effective in preventing flu illness than was influenza vaccination.(1-2) Left image courtesy of bovine colostrum.
What is Colostrum ?
Colostrum is the first 24-48 hours of milk produced by the cow after the calf is born, and contains immune system and growth factors needed by the calf. If the calf does not receive mother’s colostrum within 24 to 48 hours after birth, the calf will die. Bovine colostrum is similar to human colostrum. Left Image courtesy of Embryology UNSW.
Mouse Model Shows Colostrum Stimulates Immune System
In a mouse model of influenza published by Dr. Wong in 2014, the authors found:
“Colostrum supplementation enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity and improved the immune response to primary influenza virus infection in mice.”….
“Colostrum-supplemented mice demonstrated less reduction in body weight after influenza infection, indicating a less severe infection, increased NK cell cytotoxicity, and less virus burden in the lungs compared with controls.”. (3)
In this study, bovine colostrum, which contains approximately 500 g of IgG per milking per animal, has been investigated as a source of polyclonal antibody for delivery to the respiratory tract. IgG and F(ab’)2 were purified from the hyperimmune colostrum of cows vaccinated with influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8) vaccine and were shown to have high hemagglutination-inhibitory and virus-neutralizing titers. In BALB/c mice, a single administration of either IgG or F(ab’)2 could prevent the establishment of infection with a sublethal dose of PR8 virus when given as early as 7 days prior to exposure to virus. Pre-treated mice also survived an otherwise lethal dose of virus, the IgG- but not the F(ab’)2-treated mice showing no weight loss. Successful reduction of established infection with this highly virulent virus was also observed with a single treatment 24 hr after virus exposure.
Influenza Immunity Obtained From Hyper Immune Colostrum
In this article, the authors immunized cows with a virulent influenza virus, and the subsequent colostrum contained high titers of anti-viral antibodies. When mice where given this hyper-immune colostrum, the antibodies were transferred from the colostrum to the mice, who were then protected from this virulent strain of influenza virus.(10)
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Jeffrey Dach MD
Links and References
1) Cesarone, Maria Rosaria, et al. Prevention of Influenza With Colostrum Compared with Vaccination in Healthy and High-Risk Cardiovascular Subjects The Epidemiologic Study in San Valentino.” Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 13.2 (2007): 130-136.
2) Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2007 Apr;13(2):130-6.
Prevention of influenza episodes with colostrum compared with vaccination in healthy and high-risk cardiovascular subjects: the epidemiologic study in San Valentino. Cesarone MR1, Belcaro G, Di Renzo A, Dugall M, Cacchio M, Ruffini I, Pellegrini L, Del Boccio G, Fano F, Ledda A, Bottari A, Ricci A, Stuard S, Vinciguerra G.
The efficacy of a 2-month treatment with oral colostrum in the prevention of flu episodes compared with antiinfluenza vaccination was evaluated. Groups included healthy subjects without prophylaxis and those receiving both vaccination and colostrum. After 3 months of follow-up, the number of days with flu was 3 times higher in the non-colostrum subjects. The colostrum group had 13 episodes versus 14 in the colostrum + vaccination group, 41 in the group without prophylaxis, and 57 in nontreated subjects. Part 2 of the study had a similar protocol with 65 very high-risk cardiovascular subjects, all of whom had prophylaxis. The incidence of complications and hospital admission was higher in the group that received only a vaccination compared with the colostrum groups. Colostrum, both in healthy subjects and high-risk cardiovascular patients, is at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu and is very cost-effective…
anti-influenza mouse model
3) Nutr Res. 2014 Apr;34(4):318-25. Bovine colostrum enhances natural killer cell activity and immune response in a mouse model of influenza infection and mediates intestinal immunity through toll-like receptors 2 and 4.
Wong EB1, Mallet JF2, Duarte J2, Matar C2, Ritz BW3.
Oral administration of bovine colostrum affects intestinal immunity, including an increased percentage of natural killer (NK) cells. However, effects on NK cell cytotoxic activity and resistance to infection as well as a potential mechanism remain unclear. Therefore, we investigated the effects of bovine colostrum (La Belle, Inc, Bellingham, WA) on the NK cytotoxic response to influenza infection and on toll-like receptor (TLR) activity in a primary intestinal epithelial cell culture. We hypothesized that colostrum would increase NK cell activity and that TLR-2 and TLR-4 blocking would reduce interleukin 6 production by epithelial cells in response to contact stimulation with colostrum. Four-month-old female C57BL/6 mice were supplemented with 1 g of colostrum per kilogram of body weight before and after infection with influenza A virus (H1N1). Animals were assessed for weight loss, splenic NK cell activity, and lung virus titers. Colostrum-supplemented mice demonstrated less reduction in body weight after influenza infection, indicating a less severe infection, increased NK cell cytotoxicity, and less virus burden in the lungs compared with controls. Colostrum supplementation enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity and improved the immune response to primary influenza virus infection in mice. To investigate a potential mechanism, a primary culture of small intestine epithelial cells was then stimulated with colostrum. Direct activation of epithelial cells resulted in increased interleukin 6 production, which was inhibited with TLR-2 and TLR-4 blocking antibodies. The interaction between colostrum and immunity may be dependent, in part, on the interaction of colostrum components with innate receptors at the intestinal epithelium, including TLR-2 and TLR-4.
PLoS One. 2010 Oct 26;5(10):Prevention and treatment of influenza with hyperimmune bovine colostrum antibody.
Ng WC1, Wong V, Muller B, Rawlin G, Brown LE.
BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of specific vaccines and antiviral drugs, influenza continues to impose a heavy toll on human health worldwide. Passive transfer of specific antibody (Ab) may provide a useful means of preventing or treating disease in unvaccinated individuals or those failing to adequately seroconvert, especially now that resistance to antiviral drugs is on the rise. However, preparation of appropriate Ab in large scale, quickly and on a yearly basis is viewed as a significant logistical hurdle for this approach to control seasonal influenza.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In this study, bovine colostrum, which contains approximately 500 g of IgG per milking per animal, has been investigated as a source of polyclonal antibody for delivery to the respiratory tract. IgG and F(ab’)2 were purified from the hyperimmune colostrum of cows vaccinated with influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8) vaccine and were shown to have high hemagglutination-inhibitory and virus-neutralizing titers. In BALB/c mice, a single administration of either IgG or F(ab’)2 could prevent the establishment of infection with a sublethal dose of PR8 virus when given as early as 7 days prior to exposure to virus. Pre-treated mice also survived an otherwise lethal dose of virus, the IgG- but not the F(ab’)2-treated mice showing no weight loss. Successful reduction of established infection with this highly virulent virus was also observed with a single treatment 24 hr after virus exposure.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:These data suggest that a novel and commercially-scalable technique for preparing Ab from hyperimmune bovine colostrum could allow production of a valuable substitute for antiviral drugs to control influenza with the advantage of eliminating the need for daily administration.
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