To hear someone on You Tube testify that he was cured of cancer after taking milk colostrum made my ears prick. Colostrum? A cancer cure? I was more than interested.
As somebody who raises goats, we have plenty of goat milk, and, seasonally, goat colostrum. And as someone who had lost a loved one to cancer many years ago, the validity of a claim that colostrum cures cancer was, to me, something worth probing.
That was more than a year ago, when I stumbled upon that video. I can’t locate it anymore. Nevertheless, the Internet is replete with articles, blog posts, videos and forum talk on the various benefits of colostrum in the treatment of human ailments – including, as I had heard earlier, cancer.
Colostrum is the “pre-milk” – the thick, sticky, yellowish substance excreted by all female mammals after giving birth to their young. It lasts for a few days before turning whiter and thinner and become what is known as “mature milk.” Goat dams or does only produce colostrum for 1 day, give or take a few hours after delivery of their kids. Whenever our does give birth, one of the first things we do as soon as the newborn kids are up and about is to make sure they’re able to suckle from their mother’s teats. Getting that all-important colostrum during the first critical 24 hours of life can mean their health and survival from Day 1 all throughout their growing years.
Often called “nature’s first food,” colostrum provides all the essential proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that newborns require to thrive outside their mother’s womb. It is rich in naturally occurring antibodies that allow them to resist disease while their immune system is still at its lowest level.
It’s the same way with humans. Children who were not breast-fed especially with colostrum tend to have more childhood diseases because of formula-feeding, says the Center for Disease Control. Most milk formulas are based on cow milk, and because of the growing intolerance for bovine milk, soy-based formulas usually become the alternative. But goat milk, and especially colostrum, should be given more consideration because compared to cow’s, its protein content in the form of casein and whey is said to be much easier to digest and absorb. (Bovine milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and young children.)
The Journal of American Medical Association reports (via Joe Stout, MS), “The goat is the healthiest domestic animal known. Goat milk is superior in every respect to cow milk. Goat milk is the ideal food for babies (those recovering from illness) and especially those with weakened digestive powers. Goat milk is the purest, most healthful, and most complete food known.”
Colostrum, the Potential Cure-all
Colostrum, both from bovine and goat sources, is sold raw in some dairy farms and processed as food supplements online and in health food stores around the world. Supplements are popular among athletes since colostrum is known to burn fat, build lean muscle, increase stamina and repair tissues. Colostrum has anti-inflammatory, pain reducing and mood-boosting properties. It aids in producing collagen, and is known to slow the aging process. It is an alternative treatment for leaky gut syndrome, alleviating diarrhea and promoting normal digestion.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine (via eHow.com), goat colostrum helps in the prevention and treatment of a long list of diseases, among them: anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, rotavirus, salmonella, E.coli, candida, staphylococcus, streptococcus, Gullian Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, AIDS and cancer.
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All over the world, colostrum has been used for health purposes since ancient times. Before the invention of antibiotics, colostrum is said to have been the primary source of immunoglobulins used to fight infections. The use of cow colostrum, however, is more prevalent than goat’s simply because of its wide availability, owing to the larger and more developed bovine dairy industry.
The principle behind colostrum’s panacea properties is what is called the immune transfer factor. Any antigens and contaminants that a mother is exposed to during her last weeks of pregnancy, either by vaccination or disease exposure, she is able to produce antibodies against in her mammary glands. These immune-boosters are then passed on to her young.
This was tested by controversial holistic doctor Herb Saunders who, in the 1990s treated and cured people with a wide variety of diseases — including cancer — using bovine colostrum. He’d inject a cow’s udder with his patients’ blood containing disease pathogens, then give the resulting colostrum to his patients.
Saunders successfully treated former Iowa Congressman Berkley Bedell of Lyme Arthritis disease but soon after was charged with fraud and practicing medicine without a license by the National Institute of Health (NHI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He was tried in court two times, both resulting in a hung jury. Prosecutors dropped the cases and the district attorney likewise dismissed them. Nevertheless a SWAT team had been sent to Saunders’ farm, his facility was closed, and all his equipment seized.
Bedell, who testified before Congress, said, “After I took a teaspoon of this (colostrum) whey every 1 ½ hours for a few weeks, my symptoms of Lyme disappeared, and I no longer suffer from that disease. Because of the publicity of my case, I get frequent phone calls from desperate people who have been unable to get relief from Lyme with conventional treatment. It breaks my heart that I cannot tell them about my treatment, because no one has been willing to spend the millions and millions of dollars necessary to get FDA approval to market this special whey. I can tell you it cured what appeared to be arthritis in my knee in 15 minutes.”
The findings of Saunders, now dead, prompted independent research into what is called the “targeted colostrum” method of treating disease. Studies have been done using this method on microorganisms like salmonella, pseudomonas and cryptosporidium. Targeted colostrum is said to have been used successfully against cancer in animals, and proven helpful in the treatment of arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
It is a known fact that most people carry cancer cells in their bodies — especially those of us leading modern, highly urbanized lives marked by stress who lack proper nutrition and have been exposed to harmful carcinogens in the environment. But our normal, healthy immune systems are able to fight off the destructive cells long before they mature, multiply and cause damage. People who develop malignant tumors and succumb to advanced levels of cancer are those with highly compromised immune systems to begin with, and are unable to stop the onslaught of antigens. Colostrum can provide that much-needed help in restoring and significantly bolstering a person’s immunity.
The components in colostrum that may be highly beneficial in combating “The Big C” are the large amounts of Lactoferrin, a glycoprotein that has antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antiviral, catalytic, anti-allergic, anti-cancer and radio-protecting functions and properties. It helps in the binding, transport and absorption of iron in the body, and has been shown to inhibit tumor growth through apoptosis (natural cell death).
A similar protein is the Alpha Lactalbumin, a multimer that binds calcium and zinc ions and is known to exercise anti-bacterial and anti-tumor activity, also resulting in cancer apoptosis. Other important components are phytic acid, transforming growth factors (TGFs), and cytokines — small messenger peptides that control the functions of the immune system including chemokines, interleukins and again, tumor necrosis. All are known to attack cancer cells and hamper their growth.
Researchers and oncologists at the Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer (CAM-C), however, say there is no clinical evidence that colostrum alleviates symptoms in cancer patients or acts against cancer. The lack of approved clinical studies and its unlicensed use are what prevent colostrum from being recognized by medical and government institutions as a bona fide cancer cure.
Food safety specialists are also leery of facilities that sell raw colostrum, warning of contamination that can occur with improper handling and storage at the farm or during delivery to stores.
With much of the information on colostrum limited only to producers and sellers, alternative media and other independent sources, it is now up to consumers to do their own research and draw their own conclusions. As for me, I eagerly await our next kidding season and hope our does will have excess colostrum – to give not only for their newborns, but their owners as well.