When my daughter was young, she was a climber. She climbed everything she could find. Trees, ladders, walls, you name it. She climbed it. We were driving down the highway one time and saw a bridge under construction. There was a massive crane there and it caught her eye. She looked in amazement and said, “That looks like fun!” She was ready to climb. Fortunately, we weren't going to let her anywhere near it. Other than the obvious danger, she also seemed to fall off of everything she climbed.
She fell off of a six-foot retaining wall. She fell off of a six-foot ladder. She fell out of a tree. And on and on. Amazingly, she was never injured until she fell off of some monkey bars and broke her arm. We were glad to see that the break slowed down her climbing adventures. We knew falling was going to hurt her, but we couldn't believe she never broke anything until she got older and missed one of the monkey bars. Thankfully, God created kids to bounce. Unfortunately, adults don't bounce as well. We're supposed to be able to make wiser decisions and avoid those nasty falls. But we still fall.
So what is it that allows kids to bounce and adults to break? We've known for a long time that mother's milk played an enormous role in building the immune system of kids. But new research shows that it also plays a big role in keeping bones soft but strong.
Adults don't need bones that are as soft as kids' bones. We aren't growing anymore. But we need to have bones that are soft and strong enough to avoid breaks. And it turns out that mother's milk can work for adults as well. Actually, a particular part of mother's milk is what we need – colostrum.
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Colostrum is the type of milk produced toward the end of pregnancy and immediately after birth. It's a rich source of nutrients that babies need to grow. But it's also highly beneficial for adults. One study out of Poland found that lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein secreted by the mammary gland that's present in milk and in colostrum, can help keep bones soft yet strong.
In the study, the researchers gave lactoferrin to adult rodents. They found that it activated their osteoblast proliferation (which build bone) and bone matrix secretion. They also found that it inhibited apoptosis of osteoblast and osteoclastogenesis (which break-down bone). The lactoferrin also accelerated their bone healing and prevented bone loss after the researchers removed their ovaries (which often encourages bone loss).
The researchers said the study shows just how effective the lactoferrin in colostrum is for treating and preventing osteoporosis.
So if you want to keep your bones strong, but not brittle, colostrum can play a big role in keeping them young. You don't need breast milk to get colostrum, as it's available in supplement form. My favorite brand is Colostrum-LD. It probably won't protect your bones if you fall out of a tree, but it might protect your bones from breaks that come from simple falls.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND