Colostrum: Whole vs. Fractionated


Colostrum is important on day one, but not any colostrum will do. It needs to be high quality and full of the nutrients that will give your calves the best start possible. With all of the colostrum choices, how can you be sure you are providing the best start for your calves?

Let’s look at the differences between whole colostrum and fractionated colostrum and what they mean for the future of your herd.

For healthier calves that become more productive cows, choose whole colostrum.

There is more to colostrum than just IgG for immunity. Colostrum in its whole form is a complex biological liquid that contains thousands of bioactive factors important to starting newborn calves off right. These are often categorized as immune factors, nutrients, and growth factors and hormones. 

While the main function of colostrum is to transfer immunity from a dam to her calf through IgGs (or antibodies), many other factors are transferred at the same time. In addition to antibodies, these immune factors include natural antimicrobials such as lactoferrin, lysozyme, and lactoperoxidase. All of which contribute to the healthy operation of local immune functionality to battle typical pathogens and bacteria.

The most important nutrient in whole colostrum is colostral fat.

This unique energy source helps newborn calves maintain their body temperature in the most extreme conditions. About 5% of the total fat in a newborn calf’s body is “brown fat,” which metabolizes colostral fat to produce heat to keep those calves from becoming hypothermic. Alternative fat sources found in fractionated products do not have this same effect.

Whole colostrum also contains proteins, lactose, and a range of vitamins and minerals that are important for neonatal health and growth. Even though fractionated products claim to add in different vitamins and minerals, colostral fat is what carries the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in whole colostrum.

Whole colostrum supports gut health

Finally, whole colostrum contains important hormones and growth factors which stimulate the growth of cells in various tissues. Some of those tissues cause cells lining the gut to replicate which results in increased size of the intestinal villi that are the site of nutrient absorption. Therefore, they are important to develop intestines and repair damage caused by neonatal diarrhea. 

In summary, whole colostrum provides the calf exactly what it needs to be healthy and productive, and the sum is much more effective than the individual parts replicated in fractionated products.

That’s why we offer Foundation™ 150 colostrum to supplement or replace maternal colostrum. Foundation™ 150 colostrum is made with whole bovine colostrum. No blood, whey, egg, coconut oil, or other ingredients not naturally found in maternal colostrum. Plus, it’s cleaner and more convenient than colostrum straight from mom. As a USDA Licensed Veterinary Biological product, which guarantees potency, purity, safety and efficacy, you can rest assured your calves are well on their way to a productive tomorrow.

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