A question about bovine colostrum

colostrum

Eliz D’ Heart asked us in Facebook

Hi doc, can somebody explain or give any opinion about Transfer Factor? this is MLM product , and i need to know from medical person is it true the cow’s colustrum can boost the human imun system? Thanks!
and some doctors also sell it…
Please inform if this product hv any bad side effect too..thank you so much!

Hi Eliz

We answered this before in an old post but let us summarise it for you again

The “Transfer Factor” that is sold by MLM is in fact cow’s colostrum, which is the milk produced by cows in late pregnancy. Like human colostrum which is good for human babies, cow’s colostrum is good for baby cows.

Assertions that colostrum consumption is of human benefit are questionable because most ingredients undergo digestion in the adult stomach, including antibodies and all other proteins. Bovine colostrum and its components are safe for human consumption, except in the context of intolerance or allergy to lactose or other components. It shows promise in the treatment or prevention of a variety of diseases

(Wikipedia)

However, the “promise” in the treatment or prevention of a variety of diseases remain largely clinically unproven and what you come across when you surf the web are “testimonial evidence” from people who “feel better” after taking products such as these. Testimonial evidence is very misleading because any improvement can come about from many other confounding factors such as natural recovery, lifestyle changes and even a placebo effect. You can cherry pick positive testimonials but you can also come across negative ones such as this

http://youtu.be/ADjdnN_fYjw

If you like, you can read more in WebMD

What about the side effects? WebMD states these:

Bovine colostrum taken by mouth or given rectally as an enema seems to be safe for most people. While most people don’t experience any side effects from bovine colostrum, there have been rare reports of problems in HIV-positive patients such as nausea, vomiting, abnormal liver function tests, and decreased red blood cells.

There is some concern about the possibility of catching “mad cow disease” (bovine spongiform encephalitis, BSE) or other diseases from products that come from animals. “Mad cow disease” does not appear to be transmitted through milk products, but it is probably wise to avoid animal products from countries where “mad cow disease” has been found.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of bovine colostrum during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to cow’s milk: If you are allergic to cow’s milk or milk products, you may also be allergic to bovine colostrum. In that case, it is best to avoid it.

The only positive note in the WebMD article is that it may be useful in reducing “infectious diarrhea in children and patients with a weakened immune system”, as listed under “possibly effective” in the Uses section. All others are listed as “insufficient evidence”.

Is this supplement it worth your money?

Our take is no. People should be focusing their effects on a healthy lifestyle – don’t smoke, exercise, diet rich in veggies, fruits, less red meat. “Miracle” supplements benefit mostly the people who sell them.

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