Since some of the most basic questions on colostrum are answered elsewhere on this site's Colostrum section, I won't detail that same information here but will focus on some of the questions we're hearing frequently lately, due to some of the information (and some mis-information) that's been widely circulated by some of the marketers much newer to colostrum than we are. That's not to say we are to be considered experts by any means, but since we've been using colostrum ourselves, and providing it to our customers since 1983, I think it's safe to say we've learned more from experiencing it than most of the people currently selling it have to draw from. On that basis, here goes!
QUESTION: Is colostrum collected within 2 to 4 days after calving the highest quality?
ANSWER: NO! In fact, make that a "RESOUNDING No"! It's true that, by regulation, everything the dairy farmer collects from a cow for the first four days (8 "milkings") after calving cannot be sold as milk, and is classified as colostrum. However, colostrum experts we've talked to tell us that about 95% of the beneficial ingredients contained in the entire first 4 days' worth of colostrum will be contained in the first 2 milkings (first 24 hours), after calving. Our colostrum products: our liquid colostrum, "Alpha-Whey III" (Item H-3),and our "Colostrum Capsules" (Item H-5), come from colostrum collected ONLY in the first 24 hours (first 2 milkings).
QUESTION: Your liquid is called "Alpha-Whey", isn't "whey" milk?
ANSWER: "Whey" normally refers to the watery portion of milk after fats and other solids have been removed. In this case, it's used to describe liquid colostrum that's had the fats removed, hence making it technically colostrum "whey". (It's also supposed to be a "clever" way of saying "First Milk" which was the "old fashioned term" for colostrum -- Alpha for "first" and Whey for "milk"...so clever it's confusing!)
QUESTION: Does your colostrum come from antibiotic and growth-hormone-free cows?
ANSWER: As a practical matter, any cows "giving colostrum" would be free of those substances regardless of whether or not the dairyman milking them uses those substances on his/her herd or not. That's because the cow would be getting them only while she is milking, and she'd not be milking for a month or more prior to calving, so she'd have been free of them for at least that long, and therefore none of it would be in their colostrum. Also the producers providing our colostrum agree not to give their cows the growth hormones.
QUESTION: Does your colostrum come from strictly "organic" herds?
ANSWER: No, not by our definition of "organic" anyway, and we don't believe any other company is providing truly "organic" colostrum, either. Maybe we're too skeptical, but consider the fact that there are relatively very few truly organic dairy herds...we just don't believe there are enough of them to be providing all the alleged "organic colostrum" that suddenly seems to be appearing in the marketplace. It's possible, if they are defining "organic" more loosely than we do, that they could be providing it. Our definition would mean it came from cows fed only on pastures that had been totally free of chemicals for several years, and the cows were not given any of the "non-organic" substances so commonly used in farming today. There just aren't enough of such herds around at this point to allow us to believe that all of the colostrum companies claiming to have it, could possibly really have it. Not only would it require a large number of such herds, but (an even much larger challenge) a number of them within a reasonably small geographic area, to make collection of the colostrum possible at any sort of reasonable cost. If, at some point, colostrum from truly "organic" herds WAS available, we'd be interested. Just like we'd be interested in getting milk from "organic" cows. But, chances are, to collect enough for large scale marketing, the colostrum would end up being from the first four days after calving, and we have no doubt that first day colostrum from a "non-organic" cow would be infinitely better than 4th-day colostrum from an alleged "organic" cow. And, remember, given the small amount of colostrum a person takes daily, the issue of "organic" is far less important here, than in milk, since people consume far more of that.
QUESTION: Am I depriving a calf of the colostrum it needs, when I buy colostrum?
ANSWER: No. The cow produces much more than the calf needs or wants; the calf takes about 4 pounds, while the cow produces easily 40 - 50 pounds that first day.
QUESTION: What about processing -- what kind is used on your products?
ANSWER: The liquid requires no heat, and the powder in our capsules is low heat processed, thereby retaining the integrity of the ingredients. For some reason, many of the new colostrum marketers are making a big deal about using low heat -- the fact is most colostrum processors use low heat, so we don't think this is anything to "beat our chests about". But many new marketers don't talk about having "first day colostrum". Again, we believe the key to the quality of the colostrum is that only first day colostrum be used. And, finally, we've even heard some of the new marketers talking about "powdered colostrum being superior to liquid colostrum". . .as one fan of our liquid product said "there's no mammal on earth that gives powdered colostrum!"
QUESTION: Between liquid or capsules, which do you think is best? What's the best buy?
ANSWER: As I've said, we've personally used and sold the liquid since 1983, and most of the excellent feedback we've had from our customers comes from the liquid, since we've had the capsules only since about 1994. So the liquid is still my choice as the "very best". However, for ease of use, we often recommend the J-H5 (the capsules). They are more convenient and therefore more apt to be used regularly and they have a longer "shelf life". However, anyone with lactose intolerance problems may find our liquid to be preferable because all the fats have been removed. In fact, very few people with such intolerances have had problems with either the liquid or capsules, but I have known a few who said the liquid was better for them in that situation. Also, we personally believe the liquid is likely better in most situations since your body doesn't need to break it down.
By Charlie Sunde