A Journey Toward Better
The Complete Guide To Understanding and Using Colostrum
By Robert K. York, MD
DISCLAIMER- The material in this book is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a prescription for you or to replace the advice and treatment of your medical doctor. Each person and situation are unique. A physician or other qualified health care professional should be consulted if there is any question regarding the presence or treatment of a health condition. I am not advocating any particular form of health care, but I believe the information presented in this book should be available to the public. Any use of the information in this book and/or the decision to use the preparation described is entirely at the reader's discretion. If you are taking any prescription or non-prescription medications, please see your physician before beginning colostrum, altering or discontinuing your medications.
Copyright Robert K. York, MD 1997, 1998
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the author. Permission was received from the author for reproducing the information on this web-site, 1999.
Book Cover Design -- Watercolor by Robert K. York, MD
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I would like to express my appreciation to:
My wife, Brenda, for her constant encouragement, and the long hours spent reviewing,
editing and getting the book print-ready. But above all, for the depth and strength of her love.
God for carrying me through the darkest days of my illness when I felt there
was no reason to continue living
and then allowing me to see the path upon which He had set my feet.
I am often asked why doctors have not heard of colostrum since it works so
well for so many people. The answer lies in the teaching of most medical schools,
our legal system, the policies of insurance companies, and our economic system.
My medical training tried to teach me that products or supplements had no
documented value unless they were part of the medical school curriculum or
presented in continuing education courses by qualified medical doctors. Medical
school also tried to teach me that a product could be of no value in my medical
practice if it did not pass the rigorous standards of the Food and Drug Administration
I personally feel the medical community has been forced by our current legal system to prescribed only FDA - approved products. A standard of medical care has been formulated by our legal system for MD's and D.O.'s that does not include the use of non-FDA approved products. Medical malpractice insurance companies and unable to protect those who do not follow this standard of care, so physicians are all but forced to recommend only FDA - approved products. An M.D. or D.O. who prescribes or recommends products not approved by the FDA is considered by our legal system and malpractice insurance companies to be outside this standard of care. Because of increased public pressure, many of the medical community are now beginning to accept the role of alternative therapy in the treatment of chronic illness. This is happening despite persistent pressure to the contrary from the legal system.
The refusal of private medical insurance carriers to cover non-prescription therapy also adds to the hesitancy of doctors to recommend alternative therapy. Frequently, a person on a limited income is prevented from using alternative therapy because the cost is not reimbursed by their medical insurance carrier. Both doctor and patient are thus forced to use therapies that are approved by the FDA and reimbursed by private medical insurance companies. Even it the use of alternative therapies was accepted as the standard of care by our legal system and reimbursed by medical insurance carriers, it is still unlikely that physicians would be aware of colostrum as an alternative therapy. The reason for this is simple -- there is not a sufficient profit for a major pharmaceutical company to promote colostrum.
Since colostrum has not been developed by a major pharmaceutical company or put through the FDA approval process, it is not promoted to doctors or in medical schools. Doctor Jacob Teitelbaum, in his book "From Fatigues to Fantastic," states that experts estimate it costs approximately $400,000,000 to develop a single new treatment and get it through the FDA approval process. This requires that a treatment appear to be extremely profitable before a pharmaceutical company will consider developing it and putting it through the FDA approval process. For a product or treatment to be profitable it must qualify for a patent. That patent prevents other companies from selling the same product or treatment without going through the cost of obtaining FDA approval. Food substances such a colostrum cannot receive a patent. This means they do not have the potential
to make the enormous profit necessary for a pharmaceutical company to recover the cost of FDA approval. This fact alone prevents colostrum from being promoted by a major pharmaceutical company. Added to this limited potential for profits is the fact that manufacturers of products not approved by the FDA are banned for making any statements about the effectiveness their product has on a specific medical disorder.
Manufacturers of any alternative products should support, by scientific studies, the benefits they claim to be the result of taking their product. These studies must be done according to a specific set of criteria to be valid. Unfortunately, the benefits claimed to be the result of taking some alternative products are not based on valid scientific studies. Multiple VALID scientific studies have been done on the uses of colostrum. Many of these studies are referenced in the bibliography.
Beginning with my childhood experiences and continuing through my years in medical practice, I formulated the belief that just because the government had never approved a product did not mean it did not work. When I was growing up, I was not allowed to go to the doctor unless my parents left death was eminent. I was treated with the time-tested home remedies used by my parents and their parents before them. Some of them did not work, but many did, and very well. This was re-enforced again and again during my years in practice. I saw several patients who used alternative products with excellent results. Most recently, my positive experience with colostrum has reaffirmed to me the fact that certain natural substance are as good as, and many times better than prescription medications. At one point in my illness I was spending over $1000 a month on prescriptions. None of those medications allowed me to feel and function as well as I do on colostrum -- a 1/10 the cost!
I my medical practice I cared for many children from birth through high school. It was apparent that the babies who received colostrum by being breast fed were healthier and had fewer illnesses than those who were bottled fed. This fact has been proven and well documented in scientific literature. Since babies and teenagers were so much healthier it seemed only logical to me that an adult taking colostrum should experience improved health. A recent search of the medical literature through the National Library of Medicine has confirmed my thinking. I found over 2,500 articles published on colostrum from 1966 to 1998.
I invite you to join me on a journey toward better health. My journey has
been one of deep frustration and despair. During the times of my deepest despair
I seriously wondered if there was any reason why I should keep myself alive
for another day -- at times another hour. I am now able to look back at those
days and hours of despair and see hoe far I have come. The road has not been
easy but now each day brings a brighter tomorrow. Through the information
presented in this book I want you to join me on a journey to better health
and brighter tomorrows.
My journey into despair began insidiously in the months prior to April of 1994. I had been in extremely good health up to this point in my life. In February of 1979, I had opened my own solo Family Practice medical office in Rawlins, Wyoming. Being one of only four family physicians serving a geographical population of 17,000, my practice soon became extremely busy. My work week was averaging 80-100 hours within a few weeks. My day would start at the hospital caring for patients who had been admitted for treatment, performing surgeries ranging from tonsillectomies to cesarean sections, then seeing approximately 40 patients in my office. My nights were spent on call for my patients and for the hospital. When one of the other physicians was not available, I was also on call for their patients.
I had little difficulty maintaining this pace until I began to have severe migraines the latter part of 1993 and early 1994. I began to notice that I always had to push myself to "work through: the fatigue and exhaustion. By April of 1994 I found that I was so weak and exhausted that I was unable to pull myself up from the floor without assistance. There was absolutely no strength in any of my muscles. I had become so fatigued that I was going to bed as soon as I got home from my evening hospital rounds. My weekends were spent in bed trying to gain enough strength to make it through the upcoming week. Because of the increasing fatigue and weakness, I was finally forced to close my medical office for six weeks the summer of 1994. By late summer I felt enough better that I returned to work.
In mid-September 1994, I experienced a sudden onset of abdominal pain that once again forced me to close the office. Five days later I had my gallbladder removed. Less than two weeks into my recovery from the gallbladder surgery I was readmitted to the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. After a week in the hospital I was sent home improved but still extremely ill. I spent the next month receiving home IV therapy. Because my immune system was so impaired, I suffered severe allergic reactions to two of the IV medications. The reactions were so severe that I nearly went into shock.
I thought I had recovered sufficiently by January, 1995, to return to my office practice on a half-day basis. Little did I know that February 26, 1995, exactly 16 years to the day after opening my office, would be my last day to ever practice medicine again. By the end of February my symptoms had progressed to the point that I was unable to walk upright due severe spasms in both legs and my back. Climbing stairs was impossible without assistance. I could no longer drive due to the pain in my arms and legs. My memory was failing. My fatigue had again worsened to the point that a shower would exhaust me sufficiently to send me back to bed for the rest of the day.
My symptoms continued to progress despite numerous trials of multiple medications. I felt like I had been through or taken every medical test known to mankind. Every test came back the same - normal. I was finally diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with Fibromyalgia. Even the best specialists at Mayo Clinic had little to suggest for the relief of my multiple symptoms except rest, pacing myself, and a small dose of Elavil (an antidepressant) at night to help me sleep. I was told at this point that I would never be able to practice medicine again.
Progression of my symptoms continued. By the summer of 1995 I had lost the use of my right arm. My memory was so impaired that I could not always remember the names of my three children, how to shift gears in a standard transmission, how to operate a simple calculator or do simple addition. I was in constant pain in all my muscles which resulted in me being awake almost all night. By morning I was so stiff that I was unable to walk. I was dizzy, my vision was blurry, and all my fingers were numb. In addition to the increased severity of the migraines, I now had a constant dull throbbing headache at the base of my skull, my intestines never stopped hurting, and every day seemed to bring a new symptom. All the while I was dealing with my own struggles I was watching the lives of my children, and particularly that of my wife, fall apart. My Fibromyalgia was destroying them. Making the conscious decision not to take my own life became a part of every waking moment.
Finally, in September of 1995, I had reached the point that I could no longer watch as an illness I was cursed with destroy my wife and children. I chose to escape my pain by leaving home without regard for the emotional anguish my leaving would cause my wife and family. I did not know if I would be physically able to the end of the driveway. After that I just kept going.
For the next three weeks I drove aimlessly throughout the Southwest. I can only assume that it was Divine intervention that allowed me to continue driving. It was the same Divine intervention that led me to the Navajo reservation north of Flagstaff where my inner self began to heal. I found myself being open to thoughts and feelings that before I would have said "it is not possible, you can't prove it." Now I found myself saying all things are possible. Believing that all things are possible was one thing, but trusting that all things are possible was something that did not come easily.
My personal struggle was so intense and self centered that it consumed not only me but also my family. In April of 1996 my wife and I realized that my struggle with my illness had all but destroyed me as well as my entire family. With breaking hearts, we decided that separation of me from her and the children was the only thing that would give them a chance to rebuild their lives. The time of separation proved to be a positive experience for all of us. By allowing time for individual healing and personal growth, we grew closer together, not further apart. Throughout the summer and fall of 1996, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing continued. As of January 1997 we are again a family.
In October of 1996 I started on Colostrum. Within a week, my thinking began to clear and my energy level increased substantially. During the next several weeks and months the majority of my symptoms went into remission. This has allowed me to stop most of my prescription medications. Although my recovery has been just short of miraculous, I know I am as close as I will ever get to a normal state of health. The majority of the symptoms of my Fibromyalgia are still present but they are controlled to the point that I am able to lead a fuller, happier, and more rewarding life. I have begun, and am well into, the journey toward better health.
We are all familiar with the fact that humans and animals have the capacity to breast feed or nurse their young. Most of us have heard about colostrum in association with breast feeding or nursing and are aware that it is produced by the mammary glands of all nursing mothers (human and animal). Many of us have also forgotten about colostrum. Colostrum nourishes the newborn by providing all the food and nutrients the newborn needs. We also know that nursing makes available to the newborn substances that are not available any other way. At birth, the newborn's immune system has not yet started to function. Colostrum is what keeps a newborn healthy until the baby's own immune system begins to function adequately. This is accomplished by transferring to the newborn, through the mother's colostrum, all the natural protection against illness she has acquired during her lifetime. The new born is thus provided with all the immune factors necessary to protect against illness and enhance overall good health. Those of us who were raised around livestock know the offspring will die if it does not receive colostrum within the first 24 hours after delivery.
Human infants who are not breast-fed are simply not as healthy. They develop skin disorders, food allergies, upper respiratory ailments and intestinal problems at a much higher rate than breast-fed babies (Ley). Since nature has designed colostrum to be safe enough for use by a newborn less than one hour old, why would it not be appropriate for use by an adult? Would it not stand to reason that an adult could benefit greatly by using this same substance? The benefits of colostrum have not been readily available to adults until recently. Little thought was given to the fact that adults would benefit in much the same way as newborns. The very same components in colostrum that protect the newborn work to alleviate much of the discomfort associated with chronic illness in adults.
Even if nursing mothers were to give up their colostrum, there could never be a sufficient quantity to meet the demands of the general public. Extensive medical research has verified that all key components of colostrum important to humans are present in colostrum produced by dairy cows. Colostrum from cows when compared to human colostrum, is higher in proteins and antibodies, vitamins and minerals, yet lower in fat and sugar. It also contains a significantly higher concentration of immune factors than human colostrum.
Colostrum is collected from USDA Grade A Dairies. USDA certified dairies are allowed to collect colostrum only from cattle that have received all inoculations and are hormone and antibiotic free. A veterinarian must certify that the dairy cows meet all USDA health standards before the colostrum can be used. The colostrum is collected only during the first 24 hours after the calves are born. The key components are present in their highest concentrations during this time. Digestive inhibitors are present in the colostrum only during this time period. These are necessary to prevent the key components of colostrum from being destroyed during their passage through the stomach and intestines.
Of the nine gallons of colostrum produced during the first 24 hours after
delivery, the calf requires only about four gallons. A maximum five gallons
is collected to ensure the calf will in no way be deprived of colostrum.
Colostrum must be frozen immediately at the dairy after milking. If it is not, the potency will be lost due to the potential deterioration of some or all of the beneficial properties. Each dairy should have an on-site freezing unit to ensure immediate freezing of the colostrum. When ready for processing, the frozen colostrum is thawed under controlled conditions. The colostrum is separated into different batches according to quality and percent of immunoglobulin present. An average of 30% of the colostrum harvested is rejected because of poor quality and low immunoglobulin content. Only the highest quality colostrum is combined and processed using proprietary methods. The fat is removed and spray drying under low heat occurs. Despite claims to the contrary, lactose is not removed from colostrum. Removal of lactose would cause the colostrum to lose many of its beneficial properties. Therefore, the lactose is neutralized (inactivated) which allows those who are lactose-intolerant to consume colostrum. During processing, the removal of all pathogenic bacteria must be assured. A minimum of 20 tests should be conducted on each batch of dried colostrum. Testing should check for salmonella, pathogenic bacteria, and coliforms, including E. coli. Additionally, tests for immunoglobulin G content should be done. Colostrum processed in a USDA licensed biologic plant means the plant is inspected no less than once a year. Imu-Tek, a USDA licensed biologic processing plant, is the one plant I know that meets and/or exceeds the above-mentioned standards.
Unfortunately, there are no simple everyday words that can be substituted for the medical names of the many components found in colostrum. I will only list the key components found in greatest concentrations and give a brief description of their function. For a more complete listing of the components of colostrum and a discussion of their function, please refer to the bibliography.
Immunoglobulin render a wide range of bacteria, viruses and yeast ineffective. Colostrum contains all the Immunoglobulin -- IgA, Secretory IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM.
Leukocytes stimulate the production of interferon which slows viral reproduction.
Lactoferrin is effective in defending against disease infection and cancerous tumors. It also has properties that reduce inflammation in a variety of situations.
Lysozyme destroys bacteria and viruses.
Proline-Rich Polypeptides function as"a powerful regulator of the immune system, initiating and suppressing the immune action. Suppressing the immune system is necessary to prevent the immune system from attacking the body itself, as in the case of autoimmune diseases." (Ley)
Cytokines are interlukins that regulate the intensity and duration of the immune responses. They are highly antiviral and anti-tumorous.
Interlukin-10 significantly reduces inflammation caused by arthritis, infection or injury whether from surgery or trauma.
Lymphokines regulate the immune response.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I)
Transforming growth factor A and B
Fibroblast growth factor
Gonadotropin releasing hormone
Associated peptide and growth hormone
Function of Growth Factors:
Promote wound healing and tissue repair
Stimulate growth and regeneration of
Balance blood sugars
Increase the breakdown of fat
IgF-I is believed to cross the blood brain barrier to provide increased mental acuity and increase serotonin uptake.
"Studies have demonstrated the anti-cancer ability of transforming growth factors in bovine colostrum in humans." (Ley)
Nucleotides are important in cellular energy transfer.
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
B13 (Orotic Acid)
Colostrum has been used for centuries by the people of Europe and Asia for its natural healing abilities. It continues to be served to this day as a type of candy or custard. Currently we are recognizing the adverse effects of many of our modern therapies have on the general health of the individual. Up to this point, we have been willing to accept the fact that the benefits of using our modern therapies outweighed the potential harmful side effects. Many are finding that the side effects of certain medications actually make them feel worse than before they started the medication. Finding this unacceptable, they are looking for alternatives. Others are finding that, with or without medication, it is a struggle just to get through the activities of daily living. This has led to the resurgence of alternative therapies. But which one of these do we choose? Which one of these will give us the ability to feel as good as we can feel within the limitations time and illness have imposed upon us? Which one will not possess potentially harmful side effects? Nature has given us that answer -- Colostrum.
In the early 1950's there was not an effective polio vaccine. When an outbreak of polio occurred during this period of time, it was recommended that bovine colostrum be given to the children. This recommendation came from Dr. Albert Sabin. It was not until later that Dr. Sabin would develop the first effective polio vaccine. Many studies since, some as recent as 1995, have again demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of colostrum use in humans, both children and adult.
"All colostrum raw materials must be tested to meet both FDA and USDA standards and be certified free of pathogenic microorganisms." (Ley) Each batch of colostrum is then tested to be sure it is free of contaminations and impurities. Since this additional testing is not required, some less than reputable producers by-pass this part in an effort to save expenses. Not doing the additional testing allows them to put a less expensive product on the shelf. The danger with not testing for contaminants and impurities is two-fold. First, impurities may dilute the desired effect of the product. This makes it necessary to take more of the product to achieve the same result, thus driving up the total cost to the consumer. Second is the fact that many impurities and contaminants may cause allergic reactions in the person taking the product. The severity of these reactions can range from a mild rash to life-threatening reaction. It is vitally important that you, as a consumer, be positive that the colostrum product you take is free of all contaminants and impurities.
Only the highest quality colostrum will have all the key components, the correct amount of each key component and the same effectiveness from one bottle to the next bottle. Some products do not have all key components present from one bottle to the next. At other times all the key components are present but the amount of each component varies from bottle to bottle. Sometimes all the key components present and the amount of each key component is the same but the effectiveness of each of the key components varies from bottle to bottle. A person taking colostrum that is not of the highest quality may notice very little if any improvement in their health. If they do notice improvement, it may change as frequently as from one dose to the next, from day to day, and most certainly from one bottle to the next. The only way to assure that each batch is of the highest quality is by testing the dried colostrum in the laboratory before it is place in capsules. The lot number should be printed on each bottle. This is your assurance that all tests have been completed and the results were found to be satisfactory.
Also, an expiration date or "Best Used By" date should be printed on the label. Colostrum has a shelf life of about two years. If the "Best Used By" date is not present on the label, you, as the consumer, have no way of knowing if the colostrum you are buying is still good or if it has lost its effectiveness. To the best of my knowledge, the only way for the consumer to know the colostrum being purchased is of the highest quality is to look for a notation on the label stating the colostrum was processed by Imu-Tek Laboratories in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
First and foremost, among the many benefits of colostrum are improved health and a sense of well being. In addition to supporting and regulating the immune system, colostrum possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal (yeast) activity. Several studies have shown that colostrum either kills or stops the reproduction of several types of bacteria. The antiviral activity ranges from the virus that produces fever blisters to the viruses (rotaviruses) that produce diarrhea in both children and adults. The antifungal activity will many times stop, or at least control, fungal infections such as the one that causes many adults to develop thick brittle toenails. Many women report that chronic vaginal yeast infections clear up completely.
As we age, the replacement of various vitamins, minerals and amino acids that our bodies can no longer properly absorb or process becomes increasingly important. Colostrum returns the lining of the intestine to normal so that our ability to absorb the nutrients we need will occur with the utmost efficiency. It also contains a number of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids that provide the basis for good health. When injury occurs to one or more parts of our body, colostrum's key components promote wound healing and tissue repair. Even for injuries that happened months and sometimes years earlier, the key components in colostrum are beneficial. Colostrum has the ability to stimulate the body's systems in a way that growth and even regeneration of muscle, bone, nerve tissue, and cartilage occurs. Some fortunate individuals will respond to the IGF-I factor in colostrum by losing weight. Almost everyone taking colostrum in sufficient amounts will notice increased mental alertness, increased energy and a decreased feeling of fatigue. If you, like myself, have Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, colostrum will replace IGF-I, magnesium and tryptophan and elevate serotonin.
By far, the most important effect of colostrum is on the immune system. In fact, "over 37 different beneficial immune factors have been identified in colostrum." (Ley) Our immune system is what protects us from all kinds of illness and disease. When the immune system is unable to prevent illness or disease, it helps us to fight off the invaders. It is when the immune system becomes faulty that our susceptibility to illness and disease increases and our ability to fight them off decreases. The efficiency of our immune system may be diminished by age, stress, alcohol, tobacco, poor exercise and daily habits, infection and the negative effects of our environment. Some of the more common symptoms of a general immune deficiency are fatigue, loss of energy and/or stamina, frequent colds or infections, allergies and intestinal problems.
One of the most serious deficiencies occurs when our own immune system attacks normal healthy tissue. Our immune system, for unknown reasons, fails to recognize that tissue as healthy. When this happens, the immune system attempts to rid itself of what it perceives as a potential threat.
The result of this is inflammation, swelling, pain, muscle impairment and/or nerve impairment. This situation is given the name of autoimmune disorder. One of the most common autoimmune disorders is rheumatoid arthritis. Other examples include multiple sclerosis, diabetes, allergies, asthma and lupus.
The major benefits of the immune factors found in colostrum occur within the stomach, the intestines, and airways. Invading bacteria, viruses, yeast and allergens are prevented from setting up housekeeping by the immune factors found in colostrum. Thus, the secondary development of illness and other disorders may also be prevented. Approximately 80% of infectious diseases, whether bacterial, viral, yeast or allergen, enter the body through the mouth and nose. They take up residence primarily in the stomach and intestines. Under normal circumstances our intestines are capable of stopping further spread of these organisms. However, due to the frequent use of antibiotics and other drugs, our intestines have lost the ability to protect us from these invaders. This leads to multiple diseases of the bowel that, in turn, allow illness and disease to spread throughout the body. In animal experiments, autoimmune disorders have been shown to develop once this situation occurs. One of the first things to occur after starting colostrum is repair and renewal of the intestinal lining, thus restoring our ability to fight off infectious disease.
The use of colostrum by those who suffer one or more of the illnesses listed in the page on WHAT ILLNESSES RESPOND TO COLOSTRUM almost always results in significant relief, if not resolution, of symptoms. At a minimum, a reduction in the severity of symptoms occurs.
Those who want to improve their current state of health, obtain relief from acute illness as well as from the daily struggles of chronic illness, or just maintain their current good health, may benefit from colostrum. Colostrum use is not limited by age or gender; nor is being human even a requirement. Colostrum can be taken by adults, children, infants and pets. For those who want to be able to "do all the things I used to do," colostrum is the first step toward reaching that goal.
Colostrum has such a wide range of effectiveness that it is beneficial in almost all circumstances relating to illness or health. Colostrum protects and speeds recovery from short term illness such as colds, sore throats and flu. Cuts, abrasions and burns heal much faster when colostrum is applied topically. Minor fungal, and some bacterial, skin infections also resolve faster when colostrum is applied topically.
Anyone with a poorly functioning immune system will benefit from taking colostrum. Colostrum effectively dampens the inflammatory response that causes pain, discomfort and any associated swelling. Researchers in Japan have recently found evidence, at least in certain animal models, that some of the components in colostrum inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (Ley)
Colostrum has the potential to enhance lean muscle mass growth in body builders. Athletes report faster recovery times and improved performance. Many overweight people have reported more rapid weight loss while taking colostrum.
Colostrum has been found to be helpful in the following situation. This list, however, is not intended to be all-inclusive. I have tried to list only some examples of the multitude of conditions that have responded to colostrum. Some of the conditions listed are found in the references in the bibliography. Others are based upon my personal experience and the testimonials of many satisfied individuals using colostrum.
Abrasions (cuts, scrapes)
Allergies (Hay fever)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic sinus congestion
Decreased mental alertness
Decreased sex drive
Diarrhea, secondary to AIDS
Disorders of the skin
Drug allergies or sensitivity
Fungal infections of nail beds
Guillian Baree' Syndrome
Hair problems (dry, brittle, thinning)
Impaired immune system
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
Male pattern baldness
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Vaginal yeast infections
There are no rigid rules for how much colostrum to take. The simple answer is to take as much as you need to feel better. Because we are each so different, the amount of colostrum you need may vary from 1/2 to 14 capsules a day. The amount needed may change from one month to the next, or one week to the next. As with any medication or supplement, the amount you require to reach maximum improvement may be entirely different from everyone else you know. We are each unique in how our body works and reacts to medication, supplements and illness. Even the number of capsules or pills recommended as the initial dose for a prescription medication is only a starting point. The recommended number of capsules or pills must be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual's bodily function, the illness being treated and the severity of the illness. The same is true for colostrum. The recommendations presented here are based upon the combined experiences and observations of those who have taken colostrum for several months and for several different illnesses.
The usual amount of colostrum for the average adult to begin taking is four capsules. For those of small stature and light weight, starting on 2 capsules per day is appropriate. I know of a rare person or two who have obtained excellent results on a little as 1/4 capsule per day. Colostrum should be taken at no less than two different times during three day, usually the morning and late afternoon. The best colostrum is supplied as 500 mg capsules. Colostrum will soon be available in chewable tablets. In addition, work is currently being done to offer a topical cream and possibly a liquid form.
When someone is anxious about trying something new because of allergies or a bad experience with new medications of supplements, I find starting with one capsule or less per day is acceptable. I then increase the number of capsules taken each day by one capsule every second or third day. For example, on day one, take one capsule in the morning. On day three take one capsule in the morning and one capsule in the late afternoon. Continue taking the colostrum twice a day but add one capsule first in the morning then one capsule in the afternoon. In this example the number of capsules and schedule would be as follows:
Total Per Day
1 capsule - am
1 capsule TPD
1 capsule - am
1 capsule - pm
2 capsules - TPD
2 capsules - am
1 capsule - pm
3 capsules - TPD
2 capsules - am
2 capsules - pm
4 capsules - TPD
3 capsules - am
2 capsules - pm
5 capsules - TPD
3 capsules - am
3 capsules - pm
6 capsules - TPD
I have the person just starting colostrum continue this schedule until they obtain relief or they have abdominal discomfort. The abdominal discomfort is secondary to the intestines healing. If they have abdominal discomfort, I will not increase the number of capsules being taken until the discomfort has been completely gone for at least 24 hours. I then resume increasing the number of capsules being taken by one capsule every two days until relief is obtained or the number of capsules being taken has reached 14 per day. If there is no relief at 14 capsules per day I recommend re-evaluation of the reason(s) why the person wanted to start colostrum in the first place.
Remember that colostrum will produce results that can be felt or seen only about 95% of the time. This is significantly better than most prescription medications as they only have to work in 30% of the individuals being treated to be approved by the FDA. Those who are taking colostrum to maintain their health may not notice any changes in how they feel. ["You don't have to be sick in order to get better - Be Be"] This is particularly true of body builders and athletes who are in excellent health. I have found that people in good to excellent health sometimes do not notice any improvement while taking colostrum. However, they do notice not feeling as "good" when they stop taking colostrum. For some, stopping the colostrum temporarily may be the only way to get them to recognize the benefits. As sad as it is, there are individuals who do not want to feel better. The attention they receive because they are ill is more important than improving their health. They have such a need to remain ill that nothing will decrease their discomfort.
From talking with a great number of people about how much colostrum they take to obtain relief, a few general guidelines have evolved.
In order to: Number of Capsules twice per day
maintain good health - 1-2 Capsules
increase energy level - 1-3 Capsules
decrease fatigue - 1-3 Capsules
decrease stress levels - 1-4 Capsules
control allergies (hay fever) - 2-3 Capsules
control arthritis pain - 4-6 Capsules
decrease asthma symptoms - 2-4 Capsules
improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue - 3-7 Capsules
improve irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, and menstrual pain - 2-5 Capsules
control sinus problems - 2-4 Capsules
control anger - 2-3 Capsules
assist in resolving acute illnesses such as flu, sinus infections, sore throat,
Increase usual dose by 1 - 3 Capsules twice a day.
There is one recommendation that is always true. For maximum effectiveness, colostrum should be taken with 8-12 ounces of water. This prevents a heartburn-like sensation and helps wash the colostrum through the stomach into the first part of the small intestine. The small intestine is one of the most important sites upon which colostrum and its key components have their effect. Taking it on an empty stomach will increase the amount of colostrum and its key components that interact with the intestinal lining. Food may compete with colostrum for binding sites in the intestines.
I am often asked the question of what to do if it is not possible to arrange to take colostrum 1/2 hour before meals or two hours after meals. Based on personal experience and that of several individuals who have done the same, I have found that taking the colostrum just before meals seems to have no noticeable reduction in colostrum's effectiveness. It is definitely better, however, to take the colostrum just as you are starting to prepare the meal. Taking the colostrum just after eating seems to slightly decease its effectiveness. Specifically, the increased energy level and mental alertness tend to be less and last a shorter time. Taking an extra one to two capsules of colostrum later in the afternoon many times off sets any loss of energy or mental alertness caused by taking the colostrum with food.
Theoretically, it is better to take colostrum in the morning and evening. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that about half of the colostrum is gone from your system within 16 hours. This is referred to as having a 16-hour half life. However, many people discover that waiting too late in the day to take the colostrum causes their brain to function so well that they are not able to sleep restfully. Others report that they have such an increased energy level that they cannot fall asleep. Many individuals find that taking half of their total daily amount of colostrum in the morning and the other half in the mid-afternoon or even as early as noon results in a more restful sleep. Most people are able to get a more restful sleep than then have had in months or even years. Some individuals find they feel and function better when the second half of the daily amount of colostrum is taken consistently three times a day. Experiment with the times you take your colostrum to find the time schedule that best fits your lifestyle and still offers you maximum benefit.
Once you find the schedule and number of capsules per day that allow you to feel your best, maintain that routine for several weeks. Once you have done this, you should be able to start decreasing the total number of capsules that you are taking per day. Because of the improved health and bodily functions, you may be able to lower the amount of colostrum you take and still continue feeling your best.
Remember, it may take some time for this to happen. Although colostrum does wonderful things, it may take a while to undo what the years of deterioration have done to your body.
Colostrum capsules can be opened and the powder applied directly to the skin or gums for such things as cuts, abrasions, rashes and cold sores. Putting the colostrum powder on a plate and then smashing the powder into some water with your finger creates a clear solution. This works particularly well for the facial blemishes that occur during the teenage years. If the water is too drying to the skin, mix the colostrum with lanolin cream or aloe-vera gel before applying. You may also apply a favorite lanolin-based cream or aloe-vera to an affected area and then sprinkle the colostrum on top. If you mix up a large batch, the unused portion of the colostrum mixture tends to lose its effectiveness. It is better to mix the colostrum and cream each time you get ready to apply it. At a maximum, I would recommend mixing no more than you will use in one day.
Colostrum in children is best held in reserve for those times when illness has compromised their immune systems. A cold, the flu, sore throat and viral illness, are a few examples. Most small children cannot or will not swallow a capsule. In this instance, sprinkling colostrum on food like applesauce, cereal or ice cream, works well. Some parents mix the colostrum powder with a juice such as orange juice in a blender just before the child is ready to drink it. As with adults, the number of capsules the child needs to take will vary depending on age, weight and the illness. It is always better to start with one capsule or less and gradually increase by 1/2 to one capsule every five to seven days until the desired effect is obtained. Sometimes as little as 1/4 capsule a day is enough to benefit the child. Because children produce the key component found in colostrum into their teenage years, continuous use is not needed or recommended.
Many of us feel our pets are our children. Perhaps the best or simplest way to recommend how much colostrum to give your pets is to suggest that you use the same guidelines as you would for your children. One of the easiest ways I have found to get my dogs to take a colostrum capsule is to cover the capsule with butter. My dogs eat the butter so rapidly they are not aware of the presence of the capsule.
Personally, I vary the number of capsules I take per day from nine to 14, depending upon how much my Fibromyalgia is acting up and if it is allergy season. Now that I have been taking colostrum for over two years, I find myself changing the number of capsules I take per day a few times each month. After being on 14 capsules a day for a few days to control my allergies, I will go back to nine a day. When I start to feel lethargic, have increased pain or notice that I am having increasing problems just doing my daily activities, I gradually increase the number of capsules I take to 14 a day. I normally take four capsules just before breakfast, four just before lunch (or just after lunch if I forgot earlier) and one at bedtime. If I notice my energy level and mental alertness are down, I will take an extra one or two capsules on an empty stomach in the mid-afternoon -- though I rarely find this necessary. When my hay fever and allergies are bothering me, I may need to take 12 capsules a day (five before breakfast, five at noon or so and two at bedtime.) Yes, at bedtime. Just the opposite of what I said earlier. I believe that I rest better at night during hay fever season because the two capsules at bedtime keep my allergies from disturbing my sleep. Occasionally I will have something that must be done in the evening, such as attending a meeting, that will keep me up late. At these times I will take one or two extra colostrum late in the afternoon so I will have enough energy to carry me through the meeting. This also prevents me from feeling totally exhausted the next day.
Simply put, there are no side effects. Any problems felt to be related to colostrum are usually the result of starting too high a dose or increasing the amount you are taking too fast. This can result in several symptoms related to detoxification. Most people begin to feel better in three to seven days. Some take as long as two weeks. Maximum improvement is gradual and may take several months depending on the severity of the illness. I recommend taking colostrum for at least three months before you decide it is not helping.
Someone starting on a higher than usual amount of colostrum the first day (more than four capsules), is more likely to experience abdominal discomfort and/or diarrhea. This is caused by the body ridding itself of the toxins that have accumulated over the course of the illness. This rarely occurs at four capsules or less per day, unless you have multiple medical illnesses or problems. The abdominal discomfort and/or diarrhea is not a side effect but it will cause many people to stop the colostrum. It helps to be aware that this is part of the body's detoxification process. COLOSTRUM DOES NOT RID THE BODY OF AN ILLNESS. IT IS NOT A CURE. IT MUST BE TAKEN AS LONG AS THE ILLNESS(ES) CAUSING THE DISCOMFORT IS PRESENT.
As the body begins this detoxification process, some people will experience one or more of the following symptoms: abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, nausea, headache, cough, rash and, uncommonly, a low grade fever. These discomforts usually last no more that 48 hours. For a very few, some or all of these symptoms, possibly even a feeling similar to the flu, may be present for as long as a week. REMEMBER, THESE ARE NOT SIDE EFFECTS. If the symptoms are making the individual really uncomfortable, I recommend decreasing the number of capsules being taken per day by one-half for 24 to 48 hours. Almost always the individual will not experience a recurrence of detoxification symptoms when the colostrum is restarted. If circumstances are such that you want to try to avoid the symptoms of detoxification altogether, then starting at one to three capsules a day for five to seven days is a good choice. I frequently do this for individuals just starting the colostrum who are going on vacation. The disadvantage, of course, is that it takes longer to see any improvement in the disorder for which the colostrum was started.
Doctor York received his medical degree in 1974 from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed his Family Practice Residency training at Wichita, Kansas in 1977. He served two years in the United States Air Force as a medical officer. In 1979, he moved to Rawlins, Wyoming. That same year, Doctor York became the first residency trained Family Practice physician in Wyoming. His solo medical practice extended from the office to the hospital where his care of patients ranged from delivering babies, setting bones, to treating heart attacks. When surgery was indicated for his patients, he did their tonsillectomies, appendectomies, laparascopic surgeries and cesarean sections just to name a few. He was the first physician in Wyoming to do LEEP surgery on the cervix. He was among the first 500 family physicians nationwide to do endometrial ablations of the uterus. Doctor York served as Director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit and Co-Director of the nursing home. During his 16 years of private practice Doctor York also served as an Associate Clinical Professor of the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine and the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians as well as a member of the Wyoming Academy of Family Physicians and the Wyoming Medical Society. While serving in these organizations, Doctor York held several offices and served on several committees at both the state and national level. In 1995 he was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. That same year Doctor York was forced to close his medical practice due to the disabling effects of Fibromyalgia.
Copyright Robert K. York, M.D. 1997, 1998
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