Colostrum Is Most Potent Natural Immune Booster Rich In Immunological Components. It Includes A Variety Of Growth Factors, Immune Cells.

Female after giving birth (parturition) secrets the first thick yellowish milk called colostrum. Colostrum is secreted within 2-5 days after delivery. It is easily digestible and nutritious. Infants respond to the signals actively from immune constituents in breast milk. Few studies have shown that breast milk can affect intestinal immunity. It may have long-term health consequences.


At the closing of John Steinbeck’s classic, a woman whose newborn baby had just died. She saved a man dying of starvation by breastfeeding him. This act of woman recharged his immune system. The transferred feed was colostrum. A rich source of nutrients, antibodies, and growth factors. Colostrum is richer in growth factors and antibodies (Uruakpa et al. 2002).

Colostrum as Immune Booster

Colostrum Is The Most Potent Natural Immune Booster Rich In Immunological Components. It Includes Secretory Iga, Lactoferrin, A Variety Of Growth Factors, Immune Cells. Some vitamins do not cross the placental barrier. Colostrum is the primary source of these nutrients for the suckling after birth.

Immune Cells in colostrum

A variety of immune cells are present in the human colostrum. It includes macrophages, lymphocytes, T cells, and stem cells. Over 80% of the cells present in early milk are called breast milk macrophages. These are emerging as peripheral blood monocytes. It exits the bloodstream and migrates into milk through the mammary epithelium. These monocytes transform into potent cells, having unique functional features. Monocytes have the ability to differentiate into dendritic cells that stimulate infant T-cell activity. This whole procedure directly triggers the immune system and helps to boost it.

Colostrum in Stem Cells

Stem cells are present in colostrum. The exact functions of these are not well known yet.

Immune Factors in colostrum

Several cytokines and other immunoreactivity substances have been identified in human milk and colostrum (Garofalo, 2010). Certain immune factors like sCD14, TGF-β, HGF are present in more concentration in colostrum (Kobata et al., 2008).

  1. IFN-γ as Immune Factor

Levels of IFN-γ are higher in colostrum. They are secreted actively. Plays important role in infant immune defense and development.

     2. TGF-β

TGF-β can promote IgA production. It may actively process immune unresponsiveness in infants.

    3. CD14 as Immune Factor

CD14 exists in 2 forms, membrane-bound and soluble. Mainly expressed by monocytes or macrophages. It plays an important role in innate immunity as a component of the complex with endotoxin. The levels of CD14 on monocytes and macrophages and sCD14 are very low in the neonate. High levels of them in breast milk may compensate for this relative deficiency.

“Exosomes Function”

Exosomes are small, 30–100 nm membrane vesicles. They released extracellularly after the fusion with the cell membrane of mammalian cells. Exosome action in the immune system is not fully understood. Exosomes are secreted by many types of cells. It secreted from (dendritic cells, mast cells, epithelial cells, B-cells, T-cells). Mast cell exosomes can transport functional mRNA to recipient cells.

Exosomes and Colostrum

Exosomes identified in colostrum. Expressing MHC class II, CD86, and the tetraspanin proteins CD63 and CD81. These findings suggest that exosomes in human breast milk can have a significant influence on immune ontogeny. Risks of atopic and other immune-mediated diseases.

Immunoglobulin’s secreted in colostrum

Colostrum and mature breast milk secrete immunoglobulins.  These are identical to those found in blood or secretions. They are a family of bioactive protective proteins. Divided into several classes including IgM, IgA, IgG, IgE, and IgD. IgG, IgA, and IgM are the major immunoglobulin classes in mammal animal secretions. Colostrum has a high concentration of Immunoglobulins. IgA is the major immunoglobulin class (88-90% of total immunoglobulin). The content of IgG in human colostrum is of little consequence.


By Aiza kamal khan

Faculty of Veterinary Science Department of Physiology and Pharmacology The University of Agriculture, FSD, PAK