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Truth or Snake oil?

Aug 19, 2004

Dear Body,

I have been reading with some interest about some of the benefits of Colustrum as a potential nutritional supplement. While I do not subscribe to the marketing genius and exploiting of potential benefits of any products, here are some of the conclusions written about this supplement:

Capable of boosting and increasing T-cell production, acts on T-cell precursors to produce helper T-cells and suppresser T-cells, slows viral reproduction and stimulates natural immune capabilities, speeds the maturation of B lymphocytes and primes them for production of antibodies, stimulates an under-active immune system.

This, on the surface, sounds like a remarkable NUTRITIONAL IMMUNITY type of product albeit has been around for thousands of years. While the claims I have read about are nothing short of snake oil, they somewhat have my attention and are to say the least intriguing to some degree.

I would like any opinion you may harbor on this type of product, with of course your utmost objectivity.

As an aside, I have read some of the recent answers to questions here and would like to add that I have found the ALL-ONE / Nutritech FRUIT ANTIOXIDANT FORMULA to be an excellent choice in a nutritional supplement product. It is easy to take and well digested. I do not work for am associated with this company but my quest for a near perfect product has lead me to them. You need not print this portion of my question, it is mainly an FYI for you and your colleagues.

Your Friend in the Pocono Mtns.

Response from Mr. Vergel

This is what I have found on colostrum and HIV: it may help diarrhea and it may have some immunological benefits. The trick is to find a pure enpugh product that you can trust. I am glad you found a product you like (I have never heard of that particular product, unfortunately)

These are two studies on colostrum (lactoferrin is a protein found in colostrum):

A preparation from bovine colostrum in the treatment of HIV-positive patients with chronic diarrhea.

Plettenberg A, Stoehr A, Stellbrink HJ, Albrecht H, Meigel W.

Clin Investig. 1993 Jan;71(1):42-5.

Allgemeines Krankenhaus St. Georg, HIV-Ambulanz, Hamburg.

In a prospective, open, uncontrolled study 25 patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus with chronic refractory diarrhea and either confirmed cryptosporidiosis (n = 7) or absence of demonstrable pathogenic organisms (n = 18) were treated with a daily oral dose of 10 g of an immunoglobulin preparation from bovine colostrum over a period of 10 days. Among the 7 patients with cryptosporidiosis, this treatment led to complete remission in 3 and partial remission in 2. Among the 18 patients with diarrhea and negative stool culture, complete remission of diarrhea was obtained in 7 and partial remission in 4. In the remaining 2 patients with cryptosporidiosis and the 7 patients with diarrhea but no demonstrable pathogens treatment produced no significant improvement of the diarrhea. Subsequent doubling of the Lactobin dose (2 x 10 g daily) in 8 of the nonresponders led to complete remission in one case and at least partial remission in a further 4 patients. Treatment of refractory diarrhea with 10 g immunoglobulins from bovine colostrum per day constitutes an important therapeutic approach and led to complete (40%) or partial (24%) remission of diarrhea in 64% of the patients described here.

Antiviral effects of plasma and milk proteins: lactoferrin shows potent activity against both human immunodeficiency virus and human cytomegalovirus replication in vitro.

Harmsen MC, Swart PJ, de Bethune MP, Pauwels R, De Clercq E, The TH, Meijer DK.

J Infect Dis. 1995 Aug;172(2):380-8.

Comment in:

J Infect Dis. 1996 Aug;174(2):444-5 PMID: 8699086

Department of Immunology, University of Groningen, Netherlands.

Native and chemically derivatized proteins purified from serum and milk were assayed in vitro to assess their inhibiting capacity on the cytopathic effect of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) on MT4 cells and fibroblasts, respectively. Only native and conformationally intact lactoferrin from bovine or human milk, colostrum, or serum could completely block HCMV infection (IC50 = 35-100 micrograms/mL). Moreover, native lactoferrin also inhibited the HIV-1-induced cytopathic effect (IC50 = 40 micrograms/mL). When negatively charged groups were added to lactoferrin by succinylation, there was a 4-fold stronger antiviral effect on HIV-1, but the antiviral potency for HCMV infection was mostly decreased. Lactoferrin likely exerts its effect at the level of virus adsorption or penetration (or both), because after HCMV penetrated fibroblasts, the ongoing infection could not be further inhibited.

hydrazine sulfate and cachexia vaccine

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