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In addition to immunoglobulins there are other immune factors present in milk and colostrum: including lactoferrin, transferrin, secretory component, lyzozyme, oligosaccharides, glycolipids, and various hormones.
These all function in a complimentary fashion and are all responsible for health and well being.
Briefly the various biological functions of these immune factors are as follows:
An important consideration is the stability of antibodies in the digestive tract.
In a study conducted to ascertain the stability of bovine immunoglobulins to proteolytic digestion it was revealed that antibodies which possess specific activity can pass through the gastrointestinal tract of infants without being completely destroyed (7).
This indicates that the specific action of antibodies
in the gastrointestinal tract is not adversely affected and that biological
activity is retained.
Lactoferrin was first isolated in milk, thus its name. However, it is also found in other secretions such as tears and saliva. Its main biological function is that it has a very high affinity for iron. It is because this action that lactoferrin is an excellent inhibitor of a wide range of microorganisms that require iron for growth and proliferation. Recent scientific evidence has linked lactoferrin with significant beneficial effects in the treatment of cancers, specifically in the reduction of tumours. Though the actual mechanism of action is yet to be elucidated lactoferrin has been shown to suppress colon cancer tumors and also to inhibit lung cancer metastasis. Further, it has also been shown to successfully inhibit the hepatitis C virus in patients suffering chronic infection.
Transferrin is similar
to lactoferrin in it’s ability to bind iron and to act as a antioxidant.
Though its’ effectiveness and bio-potency is much less as compared
Secretory component is associated with the immunoglobulins
“IgA” and “IgM”. It has also been suggested
that it may possibly exist in an unbound or free form.
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