Colostrum: normalising the immune response

There are many natural remedies on the market that claim to be good for your immune system says Andrew Keech, founder and managing director, Advanced Protein Systems

There are many natural remedies on the market that claim to be good for your immune system. In fact, it seems that everywhere we look in the supermarket or health food store, there are products touting their immune benefits, from cereals to juices to teas. Then, there’s a vast array of products that claim to 'boost”' immune function, including vitamins, selenium, green tea extract, probiotics (beneficial bacteria), prebiotics (nutrients that support the growth of probiotics), arabinogalactan (a starch from the larch tree that claims to stimulate the immune system), beta glucans (another starch from oats or mushrooms) and various botanicals, including echinacea, elderberry extract, andrographis and many others.

One of the best overall products is colostrum, the first milk produced by a mother after a baby is born. Bovine (cow) colostrum has been found to be the best source for both adults and children past weaning age because it has very high levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG), a natural antibody that provides systemic immunity, whereas human colostrum contains predominately IgA, which provides only local immunity.

In truth, there is no product that actually boosts immune function. What’s needed is a product that returns/balances the immune function back to normal levels, turning the response up or down as needed. If we took a product that actually did boost the immune system, and only boosted it, it could make some conditions worse, such as autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma. These conditions are characterised by an overactive immune system that has begun to attack the body’s own tissues. Stimulating the immune system in such a case would only aggravate the condition.

Colostrum is one product that does work to balance the immune system. Other products are available but the PRPs in colostrum seem to be tolerated the best by our bodies. This is to be expected; colostrum is Mother Nature’s first food for newborns. What could be safer? But colostrum, like all the rest of these products, has one problem that is difficult to overcome, that of passing through the digestive tract before they are absorbed into the body. This means that the product must first survive the strong gastric acids and digestive enzymes it encounters. Then, it must be absorbed through the intestinal wall to get into the bloodstream where it can affect the immune system. At the very least, this means that the product takes time to have an effect, and that much or even most of a product is not actually getting into the body intact.

This is why Immulox health spray is so unique and effective. It contains a powerful immune modulator called Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs). PRPs are small molecules, much smaller than proteins, with a very simple structure — basically just a chain of amino acids — that can pass easily through the lining of our digestive tracts. Couple that with an innovative spray delivery system, and you have a product that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream after spraying into the mouth, which takes effect very rapidly. PRPs act to modulate and balance the immune system by turning up the response or turning it down as needed to maintain normal levels of function. The PRP effect is unique in that it is reversible; that is, it can turn the immune system up and then back down (or vice versa) as required. It is the only known immune modulator that has that capability.

A quick tour of the immune system

Our immune systems are an amazingly complex and effective defence system that protects us against foreign intruders, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, and toxic substances in the environment, such as chemical and particulate pollution in the atmosphere, pesticide and fertiliser runoff in our water, and so forth. A healthy immune system works like a perfectly co-ordinated team to detect, identify, intercept and destroy or neutralise any danger to our health and well-being. Our immune system is made up of different lines of defence.

Our immune systems are an amazingly complex and effective defence system that protects us against foreign intruders.

The first line is our barrier defences (our skin, intestinal lining, blood-brain barrier), physical barriers to micro-organisms and toxins getting into our bodies. This line of defence also consists of more active mechanisms that remove the micro-organisms and toxins that get into our airways and digestive system, such as cilia — small, hair-like appendages on the cells in our airways that beat in unison to move any particles that get into our airway out again — mucous in our digestive tract and airways that acts to clean up and flush out any undesirable waste in our system, and various substances that neutralize or destroy dangerous micro-organisms we may encounter.

Our second line of defence is made up of the cells and antibodies of our adaptive immune system. This defensive system attacks potentially dangerous intruders with antibodies that are specific for those intruders. To do this, certain immune cells called macrophages (a type of hunter/killer cell) first detect the intruders and then communicate to other immune cells, called helper T-cells (the T indicates that they originate in the thymus gland in the neck) what the threat is by displaying pieces of the destroyed intruder on their cell membrane. Through a series of events, other immune cells, known as B-cells (the B indicates that they originate in the bone marrow), begin to produce specific antibodies against the intruders.

The antibodies stick to the intruders, marking them for other immune cells to destroy. Still other immune cells, called Natural Killer (NK) cells, attack cells in the body that have become infected with the intruders, such as viruses, thus giving the intruders no place to hide. Eventually, if the system works as designed, it will eliminate the threat and other immune cells, called suppressor T-cells, turn off the immune response to minimise tissue destruction. Still other cells, memory T-cells, retain a blueprint of the intruder’s protein so that if it shows up again, the response will be much quicker. There are a number of small proteins and peptides that control and manage the immune response. These are called cytokines (cyto, from the Greek kutos, “cell” or “hollow vessel” and kine, Greek for “to move”). Cytokines themselves have many esoteric names, such as interleukins, tumour necrosis factors and interferons, but they all have the same basic function: communication. Cytokines are how cells of the immune system chemically communicate or “talk” to one another. They can turn on B-cells to make antibodies or turn them off, for instance.

PRP and you

So what can PRP do for you? Why do we need to support our immune system? Can’t it handle those nasty little bugs and poisons by itself? Normally, yes, it should be able to, although every once in a while the system does get overwhelmed and we get sick. A new germ may come along that knows how to bypass or disarm the immune system, such as the virus that causes AIDS, for example, or the new kid on the block, the H1N1 'swine flu' influenza virus that causes a 'cytokine storm' that overwhelms our lungs and other organ systems. Or the pollutants in the environment that we are exposed to for a long period of time may accumulate and cause diseases such as cancer. In fact, living in the modern world exposes our immune system to stresses it wasn’t designed for.

Living in the modern world exposes our immune system to stresses it wasn’t designed for.

In today’s world, the environment is becoming increasingly polluted with industrial chemicals, exhaust from cars, trucks and other vehicles, agricultural fertilizers and countless other sources. The overuse of antibiotics during the last 50 years has given rise to deadlier and more resistant strains of bacteria, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, and overeating can also compromise immune function. Stress has a similar effect, and as stress increases, our bodies become less able to fend off harmful substances and micro-organisms in the environment.

Even strenuous exercise can temporarily weaken our immune system. All of this places a heavy strain on our immune system, weakening and degrading its ability to protect us. It has become increasingly clear that we need to find some way to support our immune system and bolster our defences against a hostile world. The PRPs in Immulox help to balance our immune system when it comes under stress. No claim is made that PRP cures or treats specific diseases or illnesses. Rather, it has the unique ability to help modulate the immune system, turning it up or down to return the system to normal levels. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how this works.

First, let’s imagine a situation when the immune system needs to be kicked into a higher gear. Picture an athlete who has just completed a marathon race. Marathons place a tremendous stress on all bodily systems, including the immune system. By the end of the race, the body as a whole is very near to shutdown. Likewise, the immune system is exhausted and unable to respond fully to any threats. This makes the athlete highly susceptible to infections, particularly upper respiratory infections, for up to a day after the race, depending on his condition and the state of his immune system before the race. His immune system needs to be stimulated to return to more normal levels of function to continue to help protect him against infection at this vulnerable time.

Sometimes the immune system needs to be suppressed to return to normal levels. Let’s say there is a young woman working in a very dusty place all day. By the end of the day, her nose will probably be running and her eyes will be red and itchy. What is happening is that her body recognises the dust that it’s breathing in and that is falling onto her sensitive corneas as a foreign substance that needs to be removed. The way to remove it is to call out the immune troops. Certain immune cells in her airways send out signals to attract other immune cells to the airways to help clean them out. Other immune cells secrete histamine that increases the permeability of the blood vessels in the airways to allow immune cells to enter the tissue spaces to help clean up the dust.

Mucous cells are stimulated to secrete more mucous to flush the airways out. Other cells are stimulated to eat any dust particles that get past the cells lining the airways. In the eye, the tear glands secrete tears, which are loaded with immune substances such as lactoferrin, a natural antibacterial, to wash the eyes out. The blood vessels in the cornea become more permeable owing to the release of histamine by certain immune cells, allowing other immune cells to more easily enter the tissue of the cornea to protect it. This causes the eyes to become bloodshot and itchy. However, this sort of reaction by the immune system tends to make us feel miserable. So, in this case, the immune system needs to be suppressed somewhat to return it to a more normal level so that we’re not so miserable.

In the case of the athlete, PRPs would modulate the immune system up, stimulating immune cells to become more active and to, in turn, secrete cytokines to power up the system and increase the system’s ability to protect the athlete. In the case of the dusty room, PRP would modulate the immune system down, suppressing the activity of immune cells and causing them to secrete inhibitory cytokines to power down the system, thus relieving the runny nose and red and itchy eyes. In other words, the same substances, PRPs, can do both jobs.

Immulox and kids

Anyone with children knows that when they are in school or when the weather turns cold, the likelihood of missed school days and illness rises. The increase in ear infections in young children has been on the rise for decades, partly as a result of more children being placed in day care and increasing their exposure to other children who may themselves be sick. In addition, children do not have as well developed immune systems as adults, so they need all the protection they can get. One way to build up a child’s immune system is through proper nutrition, making sure the child gets plenty of juice, fruit and vegetables in the diet. Good nutrition is essential to proper immune function. But when their systems are facing the additional stresses of bad weather and exposure to sickness in the classroom, they need more help. This is what Immulox can offer through its unique modulating action. It can provide that extra measure of protection that will let parents have more peace of mind regarding their child’s health. Immulox is especially designed to be easy and fun for children to use. No pills to swallow or nasty liquids to gag on; just a pleasant-tasting spray that they can learn to take themselves.

The kiwi connection

Dr Andrew Keech, the inventor of Immulox health spray and founder of Advanced Protein Systems, is a dairy chemist who was born and educated in New Zealand, which is famous worldwide for the quality and purity of its dairy products. He came to the United States for the specific purpose of building the world’s first dairy plant devoted exclusively to the processing of colostrum. This facility is FDA-registered, cGMP-, Kosher- and Halal-certified. Thousands of grass fed cows from Southwestern US farms supply the fresh colostrum that is then processed into a pure white powder for use in nutritional supplements, including Immulox. The cows live under strictly controlled conditions where their dietary intake can be monitored to maintain the highest quality possible.

As the cows live in the Southwest, they calve all year round, unlike most dairy cows that live in colder climes and only calve once a year. This means a continuous supply of fresh colostrum for Advanced Protein Systems products. Constant laboratory monitoring of the final product using state-of-the-art laboratory tests ensures the consistently high quality of the colostrum. Advanced Protein Systems colostrum has the highest percentage of active immunoglobulin of any colostrum product available. PRPs for Immulox are extracted from this colostrum and then go through a patented proprietary process that gives them a stable shelf-life of more than 2 years, far longer than raw PRPs would last.