Here’s a collection of brief answers to many of the questions our customers have asked us over the years. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us.
- Why do humans need colostrum?
Colostrum is nature’s first food, produced by all mammals during the first few days following birth. Colostrum equips newborns with immune and growth factors to help them maintain good health. It is the only natural source of these components. The benefits provided by colostrum are absolutely necessary to support the health of a newborn, and support good health at any age thereafter. We are fortunate to have access to bovine colostrum as a dietary supplement.
Bovine colostrum supplies immune and growth factors that are nearly identical to those found in human colostrum.* Bovine colostrum is, therefore, useful to humans (and all other mammals) and is well-tolerated when taken orally as a food supplement.* Colostrum not only supports normal immune function, it also helps enhance fat utilization for fuel and optimize cellular reproduction following strenuous physical exercise.* As far as we know, no other substance on the planet can provide all of these benefits.
- How safe is colostrum?
Colostrum is a natural food and it has been used for years as a food supplement.
- What if I'm lactose intolerant?
The amount of lactose in colostrum is small, but even so, it may cause digestive discomfort if you are lactose intolerant. Please consult your health care practitioner regarding any food allergies. If you experience discomfort after taking colostrum, one strategy is to reduce the amount you are taking and drink plenty of water. If discomfort persists, discontinue use and consult your health care practitioner.
- Can I give colostrum to my children?
Pediatricians recommend that infants, who have not been breastfed, be given colostrum to supplement their formula. We recommend that you consult with your pediatrician for proper dosage information.
- How much should I take?
Each person is unique (age, weight, health) as to the amount of colostrum needed to achieve an optimal benefit. Remember, colostrum is a food and can safely be taken when used as recommended on the label.
- General usage guidelines
- Colostrum will probably be more effective on an empty stomach; ideally we suggest taking it about 30 minutes before or 2 hours after a regular meal. That said, it’s fine to take colostrum when you have other food on board.
- Healthy adult, for general maintenance and support supplement with 1 – 3 g per day.
- Healthy adult, under stress from sport, endurance or other occasional extreme situations, 10 – 20 g per day; typical usage is up to 10 g per serving.
- Healthy adult, not under extreme stress, typically supplements with 2 – 10 g per day; typical usage is between 1 – 5 g per serving.
- Healthy children, typically supplement with 1 – 2 g per day or as recommended by your child’s pediatrician.
- Bovine colostrum should NOT be taken by the following groups of people:
- Pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant: Pregnancy is indicated as a TH2 condition. The action of PRPs in the body appears to be to reestablish a normal TH2/TH1 cytokine balance,* so it is recommended that pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant not take bovine colostrum.
- People that have had organ transplants: Bovine colostrum may interact with the immune-suppressing medications that organ transplant recipients might be taking.* Until clinical studies have been performed to prove the safety of bovine colostrum in these cases, it is recommended not to take bovine colostrum.
- What is the difference between the powder and the capsules?
Powders tend to be absorbed more quickly, and are ideal for a quick replenishment after working out. Capsules take a little longer to digest; they are also easy to carry and easy to take. It is a matter of preference really.
Capsules: To enable the colostrum to reach the small intestine, where the immune factors have been shown to do their best work, take with a full glass of water.*
Powder: To receive the optimal benefit from the growth factors (support for body tissue, fat utilization for fuel, anti-aging effects)*, colostrum should be taken in powder form.
- Can I take colostrum with other Supplements or with Medications?
Colostrum works in the digestive tract so that all substances taken internally (food, herbs, other supplements and medications) may become more bio-available to the body and have a more pronounced effect.* If you are under a doctor’s care for a medical condition, consult your doctor before adding colostrum to your diet.
If you are taking an immune suppressing medication, colostrum is contraindicated.
If you are not under care for a medical condition, you may find that taking other supplements at the same time as colostrum is fine for you. It is possible that you may notice the effect of other supplements is more pronounced when taken with colostrum, so pay attention to how you feel and adjust accordingly.
- What if I'm nursing?
Consult with your medical professional prior to taking colostrum (or any other nutritional supplements).
- How long do you need to take colostrum to see results?
Every person is different, and every body is unique. Colostrum is a natural food supplement product, not a drug. For best results and ongoing benefits, we recommend adding colostrum as a food supplement to your daily diet.
- Are there any side effects from taking colostrum?
Side effects are rare. If you experience any serious or undesirable side effects, stop taking immediately and see your health care practitioner before resuming use.
Due to colostrum’s detoxifying nature, it’s possible that as toxins are released, they may produce minor rashes, bowel changes or flu-like symptoms until they are cleansed from the body.
Side effects are also possible if you are taking other supplements or medications along with the colostrum, because colostrum may help your body better utilize them.* If taking any prescription drugs, over the counter medications, herbs or nutritional supplements, consult with your health care provider before adding colostrum to your diet so that he/she can adjust or re-evaluate your supplements or medication needs.
- Should colostrum be pasteurized?
Absolutely! U.S. law requires that colostrum for human consumption be pasteurized.
- About pasteurization
Pasteurization is a USDA standard that MUST be followed. All colostrum manufactures are required to operate in compliance with USDA regulations. There is not any method of Pasteurization that does not de-nature the product. Occasionally we hear from consumers who want to know how our colostrum fares compared to others based on pasteurization method. Our pasteurization method is by far the best process available, that’s why we chose it. HTST (high temperature-short term) pasteurization preserves the maximum efficacy of the colostrum.
Below we list all of the USDA-approved options for pasteurization; 1.2 is our method.
- 1.1 UHT – minimum temperature of 132ºC for at least one second (ultra-high temperature);
- 1.2 HTST – if the milk has a pH less than 7.0, a minimum temperature of 72ºC for at least 15 seconds (high temperature-short term pasteurization);
- 1.3 HTST x 2 – if the milk has a pH of 7.0 or over, the HTST process applied twice.
- Do you test for Heavy Metals?
Yes. Every lot is tested. Heavy metals occur naturally in most agricultural products; heavy metals can also be the result of contamination. We test every lot of colostrum for a panel of six heavy metals.
The limits and concentrations are measured in units of mg/kg of colostrum. All results are obtained by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption (GFAA).
Metal Limit Typical Concentration Arsenic 0.70 0.10 Lead 0.20 0.01 Mercury 0.01 0.005 Cadmium 0.25 0.005 Chromium 0.40 0.10 Copper 10 2.05
- Is Estrogen found in colostrum?
There is a very small trace amount of naturally occurring bovine estrogen in bovine colostrum, too small to exert a physiological effect in humans when taken orally.
- I'm a vegetarian. Isn't colostrum an animal food?
Although colostrum is an animal food, it is considered akin to milk for vegetarian’s purposes. Colostrum has been an important part of the strict vegan diet of India’s Hindu Rishis (spiritual leaders) for centuries.
- Why is Symbiotics colostrum de-fatted (skim)?
There are no growth factors or other of the desirable components in the fat content of colostrum. De-fatting colostrum is an important quality measure to reduce the fat content and to keep the colostrum from going rancid on the shelf.
- Why is Symbiotics colostrum instantized?
Instantized colostrum mixes easily in liquid, and makes great smoothies.
- What is best time to collect colostrum?
A high level of IgG (immunoglobulin) may be most important for a newborn calf as it is their sole source of immune protection at birth; however, for humans taking colostrum as a supplement, the level of IgG in a colostrum product is only one benchmark of quality. Although the first milking is higher in IgG, it is subsequently lower in many other important healing components, such as Lactoferrin and Proline-rich Polypeptides (PRPs.) In order to obtain a colostrum product that is perfectly balanced, with significant amounts of the beneficial components found naturally in colostrum, our colostrum is collected within the first 16 hours of birth. This ensures it is exclusively the pre-milk present in the udder when the calf is born. After the first 16 hours of birth, colostrum becomes transitional milk. Five days after birth it is normal milk.
- What do the cows eat?
We collect colostrum from over 120 different dairies; we cannot and do not regulate how the dairies feed their cows; the USDA does. That said, normal feed includes grain, hay, grass, alfalfa, sometimes soy or corn and other vegetable-based feed to increase energy. The dairies are members of co-ops and the dairies are exclusively USDA Grade A quality.
- Quality Standards: Going Above and Beyond
Our manufacturing facility is registered with and regulated and inspected by the USDA and FDA. Our manufacturer is also audited annually by a third party certifier to ensure that practices are always compliant with GMP (good manufacturing practices) regulations.
Our colostrum is rigorously tested in the laboratory prior to approving it for use. Testing includes:
- Potency of the beneficial compounds (IgG, Lactoferrin and PRPs) is verified to meet Symbiotic’s label claims;
- Microbiological purity standards are met;
- Heavy metal purity standards are met;
- rBHT hormones are absent;
- Pesticides are absent;
- Antibiotics are absent;
- Both our manufacturer and our own company are committed to ensuring that our colostrum meets all of our quality standards, going above and beyond the applicable federal and state regulations.
- What about organic?
Customers who want to procure organic colostrum should be advised that the commercial supply of certified organic colostrum is extremely small. To date, there is not a U.S. supplier who can meet the supply demands of our customer market. In the U.S., if a product is promoted as “organic”, it MUST be Certified Organic under the U.S. National Organic Program. This means that each participant in the supply chain has been inspected (at minimum this occurs annually) and certified to meet all NOP requirements by a trained and licensed third party. All feed suppliers, the dairy farms, the colostrum manufacturer and the distributor are audited and each must prove that all inputs are certified organic before the finished product can be submitted for certification. If a product isn’t certified, but is marketed with an organic claim, it’s being marketed in violation of U.S. law.
- What about Colostrum for my pets?
Bovine colostrum works wonderfully with cats, dogs and other mammals because it is not species-specific when taken orally as food. Small amounts of colostrum powder can be sprinkled over your pet’s food or a small amount added to their water. Encourage them to drink water after they take colostrum.
- Am I taking Colostrum away from the calves?
Our colostrum is harvested sustainably! We don’t deprive calves of their colostrum, our dairies make sure the calves get their fill and then we get the remainder.
- Why can't I get colostrum from a local farmer?
You can. Colostrum needs to be refrigerated and consumed before it spoils. If the milk is raw, the colostrum is not pasteurized. Colostrum will contain immune factors from however many cows contribute to the batch. With commercially produced colostrum, the finished colostrum is concentrated and provides a broad base of immune factors that have been pooled from the hundreds to thousands of cows who contributed to the batch. Symbiotics® colostrum is tested for purity, and the strength of the desired components (Immunoglobulins, Lactoferrin and Proline-Rich Polypeptides) must meet Symbiotics® standards. We require higher than normal levels of these components, and each lot is verified. Most colostrum does not have the high levels of these components that Symbiotics® offers.