It’s important to know what the terms “first milking” and “6-hour” colostrum really mean when shopping for a high quality, super food bovine colostrum. Without understanding the collection process, you might think that a “6-hour colostrum” label indicates superiority over a “first milking colostrum” label. It does not. In fact, they should be the same or nearly the same.
I say “nearly” because, the highest bioactive-nutrient-rich colostrum is determined by other factors, such as how many milkings are used in the collected colostrum and the percentage of IgG – not by the number of hours from the birth of the calf.
Because the colostrum market is only a tiny part of the dairy industry, the farmer’s priority is to get cows back into milking production as soon as possible after the birth of their calves. There are usually 6 milkings to get all the colostrum out of the cow before they get milk.
- 1st milking is right after the birth.
- 2nd milking is usually within 6 hours after birth, but can be longer.
- 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th milkings are done within 2 days. (This is not very good quality.)
- By the 3rd day the cow is back producing milk.
Six-Hour Colostrum Misleading Claims
Claiming that colostrum is collected only in the first 6 hours can be very misleading. Colostrum collected in the first 2 milkings is the highest quality cow colostrum – the most bioactive and nutrient-rich. First milking is considered the average of the first 2 milkings and not less than 18% IgG factor. It is what is usually labeled “first milking” or “6-hour” colostrum, or both – “6 hour first milking colostrum”.
As stated earlier, the quality of colostrum is not determined in terms of hours. It is determined by the percentage of IgG (Immuno-globulinG is responsible for immune transfer factors.) in the finished product after processing. Most high quality colostrum is minimally processed to maintain maximum integrity of IgG and other nutrients.
The IgG level is the canary in the coal mine. It is the first factor to weaken in the processing for human consumption. The rest of the nutrients remain intact longer. So the amount of IgG left in the colostrum after it is stabilized is the baseline for quality standards.
There are many phases in the process of collecting colostrum that can reduce the amount of its IgG, including how long the milked colostrum sits in the pail before it is frozen. High quality colostrum is usually certified at a minimum of 15% IgG content. Only prime colostrum collected in the first 2 milkings can contain IgG levels that high.
First milking colostrum (technically the 1st and 2nd milkings) is critical because vital nutrient bioactivity is the number one factor for quality. Super food colostrum is the combination of what has been collected within the first full day (1st and 2nd milkings) after the mother cow has given birth. As time passes, the nutrient levels of colostrum drop considerably and the secretion becomes closer to the composition of milk.
Bovine colostrum is an excellent source of nutrition for humans for two main reasons:
- The biologically active components in cow colostrum are functionally identical to those in human colostrum.
- Bovine colostrum is more concentrated than human colostrum because mammals such as cows do not produce certain antibodies and proteins that are present in human newborns that pass through the placenta. The nutrients in bovine colostrum must be more concentrated for the newborn calf to receive a more potent colostrum immediately after birth.
IgG Nutrient-Rich First Milking
The first milking in cow colostrum is rich in immunoglobulins, growth factors, proteins, vitamins and minerals and other powerful bioactive components needed for growing a human body. This powerful ‘first food’ can be the ideal nutritional supplement for children and adults because of its immune, nutritional and anti-pathogenic properties.
Make sure your colostrum is from a reputable source that carries colostrum with an IgG content of no less than 15%. Remember, the highest quality of bovine colostrum is determined in terms of IgG content, not in hours.
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