What are Immune factors?
The immune factors are crucial for the correct functioning of our immune system. An immune system is a collection of mechanisms within an organism that protect it against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly.
The immune factors present in colostrum aid the correct functionality of our immune system as well as boosting the immune system to be more resistant to pathogens and suppress illness.
Below is a list and explanation of the key role each of the main immune factors found in colostrum have which are of great benefit to the body.List of the Immune factors naturally present in bovine colostrum:
- Immunoglobulins (antibodies) - IgG, IgA, IgE, IgD, IgM
- Proline-rich-polypeptide (PRP)
- Transfer factors
What is their function?
Immunoglobulins are also know as antibodies. These are large protein chains that are used by the body to recognize and bind antigens (foreign substances that initiate an immune system). Working at the molecular level, the immunoglobulins allow B-cells (a components of blood manufactured in the bone marrow) to mark and absorb antigens for destruction. In general, immunoglobulins make up a large part of our blood serum. These are innumerable kinds of antibodies but they can be classified into the 5 broad groups listed. These groups differ primarily in the manner in which the residing or the invading species are attacked and destroyed.
The immunoglobulins do not destroy a virus or bacteria directly but rather identify and mark the species for destruction. It is this "cataloging" of diffuse substances that bolsters the immune system.
Below is a description of each of the immunoglobulins and the role they play:
IgG is the most abundant immunoglobulin found in bovine colostrum. It is carried into the blood and lymph (glandular) system and identifies and neutralizes specific antigens (viruses, bacteria, toxins).
IgA is a collection of broad based antibodies that reside in saliva, tear and sweat secretions. Another form of IgA is present in the blood serum. IgA is highly antiviral and anti bacterial and prevents infection.
IgD is also produced in a secreted form that is found in very small amounts in blood serum. It is a specific antiviral agent.
IgE plays an important role in allergic response, and is especially associated with type 1 hypersensitivity. It is also a specific antiviral agent.
IgM is an anti-bacterial agent which triggers different modes of antigen attack. It destroys bacteria and controls antibody response.
Leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, are cells of the immune system defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. Colostrum contains several different types of leukocytes and destroys viral and bacterial organisms within the body. Leukocytes also play an important part in the stimulation of production of other immune factors.
Lysozyme is an enzyme that damages bacterial cell walls. It is found naturally in colostrum, as well as egg whites and human secretions such as tears, saliva and mucus. It is responsible for the destruction of any bacteria trying to invade the body through the mouth, eyes, nose or cuts.
Lactoferrin is a multifunctional protein; it has been shown to have the ability to bind iron. It is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, it also has a function in immune and cell growth regulation.
Interferon is naturally present in colostrum; it is a natural protein produced by the cells of the immune system of most vertebrates in response to challenges by foreign agents such as viruses, parasites and tumor cells.
Transferrin is a mineral binding protein which attaches itself to iron. Transferrin is found in the mucosa creating an environment low in free iron, where few bacteria are able to survive.
Proline-rich-polypetide is a small protein present in colostrum and has the ability to regulate the immune functions in the body by enhancing the ability of the thymus gland to release factors. It helps to maintain balance between under- and over-activity of the immune system which is important from people with autoimmune diseases. PRP can also shift from a predominantly humeral immune response to a more protective cellular response working against skin inflammation.
Cytokines are involved in the production of T-cells, lymph activity and the regulation and duration of the the body's immune response. Cytokines are released by many types of cells. Due to their central role in the function of the immune system, cytokines are involved in a variety of immunological, inflammatory, and infectious diseases. When the immune system is fighting pathogens, cytokines signal immune cells such as T-cells and macrophages to travel to the site of infection.
Lymphokines are a subset of cytokines that are produced by a type of immune cell known as a lymphocyte (type of white blood cell). They are typically produced by T cells to direct the immune system response by signaling between its cells. Lymphokines have many roles, including the attraction of other immune cells, like macrophages and other lymphocytes, to an infected site and their subsequent activation prepare them to attack the invading pathogens.
Transfer factors in colostrum are immune messenger molecules found in mammals. They are found in white blood cells Transfer factors work together with white blood cells and are responsible for keeping pathogens under control.