Our Body’s Army: The Immune System

May 12, 2023

family of five riding bikes on a cliffside overlooking the ocean

The human body truly is an incredible machine – that our brain can tell our legs to walk and tell our mouths to talk; to think that we have nearly five liters of blood coursing through our bodies without even blinking an eye (which in itself is fascinating as well – that our eyes know to blink without us telling them to!)

Speaking of our body’s fascinating involuntary actions, add the immune system to the list.

“The immune system is like the military that protects your body, or your homeland, against invaders.” –Dr. Troy Torgerson*

Some key soldiers in our immune systems are called antibodies. The most prevalent antibody found in our bodies is called immunoglobulin G, or IgG for short. The IgG is shaped like a “Y” which allows it to attach to bacteria in our bodies. The tail of the Y-shaped IgG is left hanging (literally) which encourages a white blood cell to attach and then overtake the bacteria molecule. 

Diagram of Immunoglobulin G in a Y shape

Diagram courtesy of ResearchGate

How can I keep kids healthy?

I know you didn’t sign up for that little science class lesson, but I wanted to share that visual because it has helped me understand what is going on in our bodies, and ultimately given guidance to help my family’s immune systems. We want our children to be the healthiest version of themselves, so we began to bolster the troops of their immune system with colostrum supplements, which is notably rich in IgG. 

When each of our babies was born, they consumed human colostrum that my body had produced. (Sidenote: Breastfeeding is another fascinating natural phenomenon… that the human body knows to release a hormone called prolactin during delivery to produce the perfect combination of nutrients for a newborn baby!) Our babies lived off of breastmilk for their first year, but now we give their immune systems the extra help from bovine colostrum supplements, specifically WonderCow, of course.

Calves in a green pasture

‘Bovine’ means from cows, in case you’re new to the world of colostrum. (Welcome!)

What is in colostrum?

So what makes colostrum so wonderful anyway? Bovine colostrum contains hundreds of bioactive compounds and nutrients.  Let’s talk about a few below.

WonderCow colostrum on a countertop with fruit

Immunoglobulins

Antibodies like IgG and IgA are your immune system’s first responders to invaders. They bind to pathogens, toxins, and allergens to neutralize the threat. In other words, IgGs are little proteins that fight off the bad things that try to enter your body, before those little bad guys can do damage.

Lactoferrin

Proteins that contribute heavily to your immune system’s first line of defense, as they can signal to the immune system when they need help. Consider them the friend that gets on the phone really fast to call the other helpers!

Growth Factors

These promote cellular regeneration and tissue repair that help you stay looking younger, build muscle, and recover from activity faster. We may appreciate these growth factors now more than our little ones will… but someday when they have less wrinkles and dark spots than most, your littles will thank you that you started them young!

Two young girls in a cow pen wearing rainboots

Bovine Milk Oligosaccharides

Prebiotics that are incredibly beneficial for building gut health. Specifically, these prebiotics are a favorite food for the (good) bacteria species in the gut microbiome. Think of these as the vitamins that your gut eats up in order to keep it strong, so it can hold the good things in, and keep the bad things out.

Proline-Rich Peptides (PRP) 

These amino acids are produced naturally in our body. Also known as “signaling peptides”, they have the unique ability to control the immune system—increasing and decreasing our body’s immune activity as needed. When a pathogen is detected, PRPs are one of the primary signals to be sent out in order to mobilize our immune cells to defend and protect our body. Think of a PRP like the horse that runs out quickly in front of the others to carry a message.

Sialic Acid

These acids are important sugar molecules found throughout cells in the body. Don’t worry, these sugars won’t spike your blood sugar. Instead, sialic acid plays an important role in cell-to-cell interaction and helps the entire body transmit necessary information. It would also make sense that newborns need an abundance of this vital molecule because it’s an essential nutrient for brain development and function. So much so, that most sialic acid can be found in the brain. You could imagine sialic acid to be like the river that runs through your body, keeping everything connected and making communication easier. Or another relatable analogy, it’s like your phone keeping you in touch with family and friends. It makes interacting possible when away from each other, and helps send necessary info much faster than a carrier pigeon would.

Beyond these, there are so many more nutrients that you can read about on our research page

Anyway, we have heard it said that it takes a village to raise children; We also think it takes an army – and science is showing that colostrum is a wonderful way to support that army.

Where can I buy colostrum?

We’re so glad you asked (or at least reached this point). Check out Wondercow.com to fuel all your family’s immune system needs.

*Dr. Torgerson is the Director of Experimental Immunology at the Allen Institute for Immunology

Ingredients for colostrum superfood smoothie

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