Quality Determination

Because a calf’s needs are immediate following birth, it naturally follows that colostrum is produced prior to birth. It is rich in factors transported directly from the mother’s circulatory system, unlike milk where pre-cursers are processed through the alveoli to become milk (i.e. glucose to lactose, amino acids to protein). The hormonal changes of the mother at birth:

Quality & Determination

  • Begin the process of shutting down transfer of bio-actives from the circulatory system. This happens very quickly.
  • Stimulate the production of milk, diluting the colostrum.
  • Promote the re-absorption of the bio-actives by the mother.

Considering these facts, it becomes apparent that not only the number of milkings collected, but the time frame of collection is vital to the value of colostrum.

Change from Colostrum to Transitional Milk

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It is important to know that:

  • In the first milking collected within six hours, over 80% of the albumin fraction is bioactive components produced in the bone marrow and circulatory system.
  • At the second milking collected between 12 and 24 hours, only 50% is considered bioactive.
  • Production of the whey proteins beta-lactoglobulin and alpha lactalbumin produced from amino acids in the alveoli of the mammary gland now account for the majority of the protein. While they have biological function in addition to their primarily nutritional role, these proteins are available in many consumer foods, whey protein concentrates and isolates.
  • When the transition to milk has been completed, the bio-actives are less than 1% of that contained in colostrum.
  • Because the transfer of all factors is not diminished at the same rate during the period after birth, 1st milking bovine colostrum has a different balance (ratio) of factors compared to the subsequent transitional period milkings as well. The chart below demonstrates the effects of collection requirements, quality control and processing methods used by various manufacturers versus intact, whole, first milking colostrum that has been delicately processed with stringent quality control.

Commercial products versus Certified First Milking

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