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There may be a good alternative to subjecting yourself to a flu vaccine: Bovine colostrum supplementation prevents influenza more effectively than flu vaccination, according to a recent Italian study. Colostrum, a substance produced in mammary glands within 48 to 72 hours after a female mammal gives birth, abounds with nutrients, growth factors, and immune-supporting compounds, including antibodies. Bovine (cow) colostrum has a similar composition to that of humans.
Researchers, led by M. R. Cesarone of the San Valentino-Spoltere Vascular Screening Project in Pescara, Italy, compared the effectiveness of oral colostrum with anti-influenza vaccine in healthy subjects, ages 30 to 80. They divided the subjects into four groups: those who received vaccination alone, those who received vaccination and colostrum supplements, those who received only colostrum, and those who received no flu-preventive treatment. The researchers looked at the number of influenza episodes during the two-month treatment period plus the month after (three months total) and the total days of illness. Both colostrum-receiving groups experienced significantly fewer cases of flu than either the untreated or the vaccination-only group:
The number of days with flu was 3 times higher in the non-colostrum subjects. The colostrum group had 13 episodes versus 14 in the colostrum + vaccination group, 41 in the group with flu vaccine alone, and 57 in no treated subjects.
A second part of the study involved 65 very high-risk cardiovascular patients, all of whom received influenza vaccination. Again, the colostrum group had fewer cases of influenza and fewer complications that required hospital admission. Cesarone et al.conclude:
Colostrum, both in healthy subjects and high-risk cardiovascular patients, is at least 3 times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu and is very cost-effective.