One of the most nutritious, most-balanced, and highly-protective foods that any young mammal, especially dogs and humans, can have is colostrum. It is a type of breast milk that is rich in maternal antibodies that confer temporary immunity to the young ones. It also has the right combination of essential nutrients in the right amounts to jumpstart the baby’s rapid growth and development. It is for this reason that colostrum is highly regarded as the best food for babies, puppies, and every other young mammal. Today, however, colostrum is no longer just for babies because its amazing benefits have all been extended into adult dogs in the form of colostrum formulations. Here are 5 benefits of colostrum for dogs you really should know.
Fine-Tune Your Dog’s Immune Responses Especially in Terms of Allergies
Science says that colostrum is naturally rich in a special kind of hormone that plays a role in regulating immune responses. Proline-rich polypeptide is a hormone that can down-regulate or tame the immune response especially in conditions that are characterized by an over-reactive immune system.
Allergies are believed to be caused by an over-reacting immune system whereby immune system cells mount an immune response against molecules or substances that are otherwise benign or normal in nature. These substances contain proteins that sensitize the immune system cells. Considering that the body is composed of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, it is very unusual for the immune system to attack the very same macronutrient that makes up the body.
The action of colostrum’s PRP is in the prevention of the overproduction of T-lymphocytes so that the immune reaction is not that substantial. Additionally, colostrum increases the production of suppressor T-cells which can further aid in taming the immune system.
Technically, because of its effects on these cells of the immune system, colostrum can provide the same anti-inflammatory benefits on other diseases or health conditions that are characterized by inflammation such as arthritis.
Promotes Healthier Digestive System
More than 70 percent of the cells of the immune system are found in the gastrointestinal tract. Since food allergies in dogs occur because undigested proteinaceous molecules are able to pass through the intestinal wall, creating a finer mesh between the intestines and the bloodstream can help prevent the contact between these protein-containing molecules and the cells of the immune system.
The whole idea is grounded on the fact that large protein molecules should be digested in the small intestines and broken down into peptides and amino acids. Because they are inherently smaller, immune system cells allow them to easily pass through. However, large protein molecules are not supposed to pass and as such the same immune system cells will attack these large proteins, producing the many symptoms we now associate with canine upset stomachs or food allergies. Colostrum coats the lining of the small intestines so that large protein molecules will not pass through.
Additionally, colostrum contains highly beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. These help reestablish normal and healthy gut functioning, allowing for improved digestion of food, and helping facilitate the healing of a leaky gut.
Aid in the Management of Certain Types of Cancer
Rich in interleukins, lymphokines, and interferons, colostrum has also been lauded for its beneficial effects in the management of certain types of cancers. Both interleukins and interferons are known to activate highly specialized white blood cells that search and destroy neoplastic cells. Known as cytokines, these substances are now one of the mainstays in cancer treatment. Interferons are also believed to inhibit cancer cell growth. In some instances, these highly-specialized immune system cells are also believed to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Colostrum also contains lactalbumin, a kind of milk protein that can kill cancerous cells which can further aid in its cancer-fighting capabilities.
There are certain types of cancer that develop due to tumor-causing viruses, particularly those classified as DNA viruses. Since colostrum also contains immunoglobulins in exceptionally large amounts and IgE and IgD are especially known to fight viruses, this antiviral activity of colostrum can also aid in the management of cancers. It also contains phytic acid, an antioxidant that prevents iron from being utilized by cancer cells.
Prevents Canine Flu
The same antiviral activity of colostrum can help protect dogs against canine flu. As a matter of fact, the administration of colostrum to dogs was proven to be 3 times more effective in the prevention of canine flu than flu vaccine itself. It is especially effective against H3N2 and H3N8 viruses, originally from birds and horses, respectively.
Not only does colostrum prevent canine flu, it also has the ability to prevent other viral insults owing to its rich mix of antiviral immunoglobulins. Some of the viral infections that colostrum has been proven to be effective in preventing and treatment include bordetella or kennel cough, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and canine parvovirus.
The immune-boosting effects of colostrum are well-studied especially in puppy and human baby populations. These effects are now being used extensively in adult dog populations to improve their immune system functioning and provide a much better outlook for them.
Promotes Efficient Wound Healing
Colostrum is also rich in Insulin-like Growth Factor or IGF, especially IGF-1 and IGF-2, although IGF-1 is more known for its effects on tissue regeneration. What it does is it stimulates the increased production of protein building blocks to effectively start the tissue repair and healing process. Once this has been initiated, the mechanism of tissue regeneration can proceed.
This has important implications in the overall management of tissue injuries in dogs, whether they are caused by physical forces or by biological elements. Together with the antimicrobial activity of the immunoglobulins that colostrum contains, IGF can work to promote tissue healing in skin and oral health problems, ear infections, insect bites, cysts, and even wounds caused by surgical procedures. Colostrum greatly enhances the way the body repairs and heals itself so that your dog can function more optimally.
There are many reasons why colostrum is simply the best for puppies. Now all these benefits can be conferred to your adult dog.