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Clinical Research Supporting the Use of Bovine Colostrum for Improving Human Health

  • Colostrum helps boost, balance and maintain immune function
  • Components in colostrum help eliminate harmful pathogens and fight infection
  • Colostrum helps cleanse & prevent the absorption of toxins and pathogens

Sponseller JK, et al. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum as a novel therapy to combat Clostridium difficile infection. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2015 Apr 15;211(8):1334-41. Nonimmune colostrum-treated piglets developed moderate to severe diarrhea and colitis. In contrast, (HBC) hyperimmune bovine colostrum-treated piglets had mild or no diarrhea and mild or no colitis. HBC provides an oral, cost-effective, and safe alternative to antibiotic therapy for clostridium difficile. By preserving intestinal microbiota, HBC may be more efficacious than antibiotics.

Wong EB, et al. Bovine colostrum enhances natural killer cell activity and immune response in a mouse model of influenza infection and mediates intestinal immunity through toll-like receptors 2 and 4. Nutrition Research. 2014 Apr;34(4):318-25. Colostrum-supplemented mice demonstrated less reduction in body weight after influenza infection, indicating a less severe infection, increased NK cell cytotoxicity, and less virus burden in the lungs compared with controls. Colostrum supplementation enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity and improved the immune response to primary influenza virus infection in mice.

Steele J, et al. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum for treatment of GI infections: A review and update on Clostridium difficile. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013;22;9(7). Hyperimmune bovine colostrum was efficacious in the treatment of C. difficile infection in the gnotobiotic piglet model, and may provide an effective treatment alternative to antibiotics, which can spare the normal gut microflora, and reduce rates of recurrence and antibiotic resistance.

Kaducu FO, et al. Effect of bovine colostrum-based food supplement in the treatment of HIV-associated diarrhea in Northern Uganda: a randomized controlled trial. Indian Journal of Gastroenterology 2011;30(6):270-6. The addition of a bovine colostrum-based supplement to standard anti-diarrhea therapy is effective in treatment of HIV-associated diarrhea.

Elfstrand L, Florén CH. Management of chronic diarrhea in HIV-infected patients: current treatment options, challenges and future directions. HIV/AIDS (Auckland, N.Z.) 2010;2:219-24. Bovine colostrum-based food can be useful for managing chronic diarrhea in HIV-infected patients, enhancing both nutritional and immunological status.

Belcaro G, et al. Prevention of flu episodes with colostrum and Bifivir compared with vaccination: an epidemiological, registry study. Panminerva Med. 2010;52(4):269-75. The number of influenza episodes registered with the immunnomodulators was significantly lower than those observed in patients using vaccination or no prevention. The number of days of disease was higher in untreated controls compared to the groups treated with immunomodulators and 2 times higher in the vaccination group compared to the same groups.

Rawal P, et al. Role of colostrum in gastrointestinal infections. Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2008;75(9):917-21. Colostrum has been found to be effective in infantile hemorrhagic diarrheas, other diarrheas and reduces the likelihood of disease progressing to hemolytic uremic syndrome. It has also been tested in H. pylori infection and diarrhea in immunodeficiency.

Vilte DA, et al. Bovine colostrum contains immunoglobulin G antibodies against intimin, EspA, and EspB and inhibits hemolytic activity mediated by the type three secretion system of attaching and effacing Escherichia coli. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology 2008;15(8):1208-13. Early colostrum from cows contains antibodies, lactoferrin, and other unidentified substances that impair type three secretion system (TTSS) function in attaching and effacing E. coli strains. Bovine colostrum might act by reducing Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colonization in newborn calves and could be used as a prophylactic measure to protect non-breast-fed children against EHEC infection in an area of endemicity.

Hammarstrom L, Weiner CK. Targeted antibodies in dairy-based products. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2008;606:321-43. Bovine colostrum-based immune milk products have proven efficacy in prophylaxis and treatment against various infectious diseases in humans such as diarrheal diseases caused by various pathogens like E. coli and rotavirus.

Keech A, et al. Peptide immunotherapy: a new direction in HIV/AIDS treatment. (Unpublished Research, 2008). Results of the studies showed increases in CD4+ T-cell counts to normal or near normal levels, reduction in viral loads, and the remission of HIV/AIDS related physical symptoms in most patients with days, reduction of clinical symptoms, as well as significant weight gains, within six to twelve weeks of treatment. This suggests that PRP spray may prove to be a useful, low cost, easy to use, and side effect-free adjunct therapy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. PRPs are shown to be increasingly popular and well tolerated immune and cytokine modulators for both immune suppressed and auto-immune conditions.

Cesarone MR, et al. Prevention of influenza episodes with colostrum compared with vaccination in healthy and high-risk cardiovascular subjects: the epidemiologic study in San Valentino. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2007;13(2):130-6. The incidence of complications and hospital admission from influenza was higher in the group that received only a vaccination compared with the colostrum groups. 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.

Florén CH, et al. ColoPlus, a new product based on bovine colostrum, alleviates HIV-associated diarrhea. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006;41(6):682-6. Patients with HIV-associated diarrhea experienced decrease in stool evacuations per day from 7.0+/-2.7 to 1.3+/-0.5, a substantial decrease in self-estimated fatigue of 81%, an increase in body-weight of 7.3 kg per patient and an increase in CD4+ count by 125% after taking a bovine colostrum supplement for four weeks.

Akisu C, et al. Effect of human milk and colostrum on Entamoeba histolyica. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2004;10(5):741-742. Colostrum was found to provide protection against Entamoeba histolyica, the cause of amoebiasis, a serious, chronic illness characterized by dysentery, gastrointestinal ulceration and abscess formation and intestinal blockage in infants particularly.

Funatogawa K, et al. Use of immunoglobulin enriched bovine colostrum against oral challenge with enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in mice. Microbiol Immunol. 2002;46(11):761-6. Oral administration of bovine colostrum effectively protects mice against food-borne infections by inhibiting bacterial attachment to the intestinal mucous membrane, colonization and growth in the intestinal tract.

Lilius EM, Marnila P. The role of colostral antibodies in prevention of microbial infections. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 2001;14(3): 295-300. Colostrum offers passive protection against a variety of microbial pathogens in the form of specific immunoglobulin A, G and M antibodies. It is especially effective in the prevention of various gastroenteric infections.

Rump JA, et al. Treatment of diarrhoea in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with immunoglobulins from bovine colostrum. Clin Investig. 1992;70(7):588-594. Immunoglobulins from bovine colostrum were very effective in treating chronic diarrhea in AIDS patients from a variety of causes. Colostral immunoglobulins are highly resistant to digestion in the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Colostrum helps protect and heal the G.I. tract and stomach lining (Leaky Gut Syndrome)

Blais M, et al. A gene expression programme induced by bovine colostrum whey promotes growth and wound-healing processes in intestinal epithelial cells. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014 Nov 13;3:e57. Colostrum specific bioactive content could be beneficial for intestinal epithelial cell homoeostasis by controlling biological processes implicated in wound healing through a precise gene expression programme.

Marchbank T, et al. The nutriceutical bovine colostrum truncates the increase in gut permeability caused by heavy exercise in athletes. American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2011;300(3):G477-84. Colostrum may have value in enhancing athletic performance and preventing heat stroke.

Kim JW, et al. Protective effects of bovine colostrum on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced intestinal damage in rats. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005;14(1):103-7. Administration of bovine colostrum reduced the increase in intestinal permeability, enteric bacterial overgrowth, protein losing enteropathy and mucosal villous damage of the small intestine induced by diclofenac. Bovine colostrum may have a beneficial effect in prevention of NSAID induced small intestinal injuries.

Prosser C, et al. Reduction in heat-induced gastrointestinal hyperpermeability in rats by bovine colostrum and goat milk powders. Journal of Applied Physiology 2004;96(2):650-4. Bovine colostrum powder can partially alleviate the effects of hyperthermia on gastrointestinal permeability in the intact animal. The protective effect may involve modulation of tight junction permeability.

Playford RJ, et al. Co-administration of the health food supplement, bovine colostrum, reduces the acute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability. Clinical Science 2001;100:627-633. This study showed that colostrum also prevents an increase in gastrointestinal permeability due to NSAID use, whereas NSAID use alone without colostrum causes an increase in permeability.

Playford RJ, et al. Colostrum and milk-derived peptide growth factors for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(1):5-14. A review article of the research examining the potential benefits of using recombinant peptides or colostral-derived preparations for a wide range of gastroenterologic conditions. Early results are encouraging and authors envisage the standard use of these products in the clinical management of gastrointestinal diseases within the next decade.

Playford RJ, et al. Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which prevents NSAID induced gut damage. Gut 1999;44:653-658. Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very effective in controlling joint pain in arthritis, their use also causes significant, and sometimes fatal, gastrointestinal damage. Supplementation with colostrum, however, significantly reduced and healed injury caused by NSAIDs. TGF stimulates new cell growth and a 20% increase in intestinal villi height. By repairing the intestinal mucosal barrier and increasing the surface area in the gut, more nutrients may be absorbed into the bloodstream.

  • Increase Natural Killer (NK) cell activity in colostrum

Wong EB, et al. Bovine colostrum enhances natural killer cell activity and immune response in a mouse model of influenza infection and mediates intestinal immunity through toll-like receptors 2 and 4. Nutrition Research. 2014 Apr;34(4):318-25. Colostrum-supplemented mice demonstrated less reduction in body weight after influenza infection, indicating a less severe infection, increased NK cell cytotoxicity, and less virus burden in the lungs compared with controls. Colostrum supplementation enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity and improved the immune response to primary influenza virus infection in mice.

Jensen GS, et al. A novel extract from bovine colostrum whey supports innate immune functions. II. Rapid changes in cellular immune function in humans. Preventive Medicine 2012;54 Suppl:S124-9. Bovine colostrum low-molecular weight fraction (CLMWF) increased phagocytic activity and rapid transient changes in NK cell numbers. Data suggest that upon consumption, interaction of CLMWF with immune cells in the gut mucosa triggers immediate events with systemic consequences.

Artym, J. [Antitumor and chemopreventive activity of lactoferrin].Postȩpy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej 2006;60:352-369.  Lactoferrin provides anti-tumor protection through its immunomodulatory abilities, so it is of particular value in cancer patients with impaired immunity. Lactoferrin increases the number and the activity of T and B cells and NK cells, stimulates the release of a number of cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, IFN-γ, TNF-α), increases the phagocytic and cytotoxic activity of monocytes and macrophages, accelerates the maturation of T and B cells, and elevates the expression of several types of cellular receptors, including CD4, zeta chain of the CD3 complex, LFA-1, CD11, ICAM-1, and selectin P.  In addition, it also exhibits chemopreventive properties, regulates the activity of Phase I and Phase II enzymes which participate in the activation and detoxification of carcinogens, and regulates the composition of the intestinal flora.

Damiens E, et al. Effects of human lactoferrin on NK cell cytotoxicity against hematopoietic and epithelial tumor cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1998;1402(3):277–287. Human lactoferrin applied at levels found in inflammation was found to boost the cytotoxic activity of natural killer (NK) cells against hematopoietic and breast epithelial tumor cell lines. It also significantly increases the susceptibility to lysis of breast and colon epithelial tumor cell lines but not the hematopoietic tumor cells. Lactoferrin is shown to inhibit epithelial cell proliferation by blocking cell cycle progression.

  • Colostrum helps Increase muscle strength, stamina, speed recovery and burn fat

Duff WR, et al. The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation in older adults during resistance training. International Journal of Sport Nutrition Exercise & Metabolism. 2014 Jun;24(3):276-85. Colostrum supplementation during resistance training was beneficial for increasing leg press strength and reducing bone resorption in older adults. Subjects taking colostrum improved upper body strength, muscle thickness, lean tissue mass, and cognitive function.

Marchbank T, et al. The nutriceutical bovine colostrum truncates the increase in gut permeability caused by heavy exercise in athletes. American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2011;300(3):G477-84. Colostrum may have value in enhancing athletic performance and preventing heat stroke.

Davison G, Diment BC. Bovine colostrum supplementation attenuates the decrease of salivary lysozyme and enhances the recovery of neutrophil function after prolonged exercise. British Journal of Nutrition 2010;103(10):1425-32. Bovine colostrum supplementation either speeded the recovery (neutrophil function) or prevented the decrease (salivary lysozyme) in these measures of innate immunity. These results suggest that 4 weeks of bovine colostrum supplementation limits the immune-depressive effects induced by an acute prolonged physical stressor, such as exercise, which may confer some benefits to host defense.

Shing CM, et al. The influence of bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in highly trained cyclists. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2006;40(9):797-801. Low dose bovine colostrum protein concentrate supplementation elicited improvements in 40km time trial performance during a high intensity training period and maintained ventilatory threshold following five consecutive days of high intensity training.

Brinkworth GD, et al. Effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on the composition of resistance trained and untrained limbs in healthy young men. European Journal of Applied Physiology 2004;9(11):53-60. Either bovine colostrum or whey protein was given to young men who were either in training or not in training. Those in the training group who received colostrum showed a significantly greater increase in both upper arm circumference and cross-sectional area compared to those receiving whey, while those who were not in training showed no change.

Buckley JD, et al. Effect of bovine colostrum on anaerobic exercise performance and plasma insulin-like growth factor I. Journal of Sports Science 2003;21(7):577-588. Athletes in training were given either bovine colostrum or placebo for 8 weeks. Those receiving colostrum showed a significant increase in peak anaerobic power over placebo.

Coombes JS, et al. Dose effects of oral bovine colostrum on physical work capacity in cyclists. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2002;34(7):1184-1188. Dosage studies done on training cyclists showed a small but significant improvement in time trials at doses of 20 g or 60 g/day.

Hofman Z, et al. The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in elite field hockey players. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2002;12(4):461-469. Colostrum supplementation in elite field hockey players, both male and female, resulted in improved sprint performance over placebo.

Antonio J, et al. The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women. Nutrition 2001;17(3):243-247. Actively training male and female athletes were given colostrum supplementation or placebo for a period of 8 weeks. Subjects receiving colostrum but not placebo showed an increase in lean body mass.

Buckley JD, Abbott M, Martin S, Brinkworth G, Whyte P. Effect of an oral bovine colostrum supplement (intact) on running performance. Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport 1998. Adelaide, October 13-16, 1998.

  • Growth factors in colostrum

Park YG, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-1 protects against prion peptide-induced cell death in neuronal cells via inhibition of Bax translocation. International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2012;30(5):1069-74. IGF-1 in bovine colostrum protects neuronal cells against neurotoxicity through an antioxidative effect. Regulation of IGF-1 secretion may have a therapeutic potential in the management of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress-induced neurodegeneration.

El Ghalbzouri A, et al. Fibroblasts facilitate re-epithelialization in wounded human skin equivalents. Laboratory Investigation 2004;84(1):102-112. Re-epithelialization of wounds begins with the migration of keratinocytes (skin cells) from the edges of the wound. This migration is dependent on the interaction of the keratinocytes with dermal fibroblasts and extracellular matrix. This migration is accelerated by EGF and keratinocyte growth factor.

Molloy T, et al. The roles of growth factors in tendon and ligament healing. Sports Medicine 2003;33(5):381-394. Growth factors are one of the most important components of healing. IGF-1 is involved in the early stages following injury in the proliferation and migration of fibroblasts (connective tissue cells) and the increase of collagen production. TGF-β is active during inflammation of the injured area and plays a role in cellular migration and proliferation. VEGF is most active following the inflammatory phase when it stimulates angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels into the damaged area. PDGF comes into play immediately after injury and acts to stimulate the production of the other growth factors as well as tissue remodeling. FGF is a powerful stimulator of angiogenesis and cell proliferation and migration. Adding these factors to the wound site, such as through colostrum supplementation, has been shown to speed the healing process.

Pakkanen R, Aalto J. Review paper: Growth factors and antimicrobial factors of bovine colostrum. International Dairy Journal 1997;7:285-297. Colostrum is rich in nutrients, antibodies, insulin, transforming growth factor B and other growth factors. Growth factors promote growth and development in the newborn, while antimicrobial factors provide passive immunity and protect against infections.

Marcotty C, et al. Insulin-like growth I (IGF-I) from cow colostrum: Purification and characterization. Growth Regulation 1991;1(2):56-61. Purified IGF-I from defatted bovine colostrum was found to be 95% pure by N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. After isolation of peptides from a digest of IGF-I obtained using staphylococcus aureus protease, the complete sequence was established and found to be identical to that of bovine or human plasma IGF-I

Francis G, et al. Insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 in bovine colostrum Sequences and biological activities compared with those of a potent truncated form. Biochem J. 1988;251:95-103. Two growth factors similar to insulin (IGF-1 and IGF-2) were purified from bovine colostrum; IGF-1 was found to be identical to the corresponding human growth factor. Protein synthesis was increased and protein breakdown was reduced by administration of the bovine colostrum extracts.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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