Sometimes referred to as “liquid good,” colostrum is the pre-milk produced by female mammals after giving birth, before their true milk is released. This rich substance is packed with vitamins and minerals that provide substantial health benefits in the first few days of life.
Though all mammals produce colostrum, today’s most popular colostrum supplements are sourced from cows. Bovine colostrum is collected from the excess produced by female cows after giving birth. It is then pasteurized, dried, and made into a supplement in liquid, powder, or pill form.
There are many potential health benefits to taking bovine colostrum supplements. Hence, it’s no wonder it has gained popularity to help boost overall health and alleviate a variety of conditions.
Bovine colostrum can be beneficial to humans in many ways. Here we cover four different ways that you can use colostrum:
- Prevent and repair intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut”
- Build lean muscle mass and enhance athletic performance
- Promote immune system health
- Use colostrum to promote digestive health
1. Prevent and Repair Intestinal Permeability
In recent years, leaky gut syndrome has received attention as a digestive issue that can impact our overall health.
What is leaky gut syndrome? Our intestinal walls contain tight junctions that prevent undigested foods, bacteria, and toxins from passing through our gut and into our bloodstream. When these tight junctions loosen, it can prevent our digestive system from properly absorbing needed nutrients.
Gut health issues can lead to various symptoms including gas, bloating, occasional constipation, diarrhea, and even fatigue.
Additionally, gut health is impacted by the balance of good bacteria in our intestinal tract lining. When this balance is disrupted, the same symptoms of leaky gut syndrome such as bloating, gas, occasional constipation, and occasional heartburn can be present.
Bovine colostrum contains naturally occurring prebiotics and probiotics, antibodies, proteins and nutrients that have been shown to produce good gut bacteria, help heal the mucosal barrier, and strengthen the intestinal walls.
One particular protein, lactoferrin, is a natural antioxidant that can help regulate iron supply and ward off bacteria by supporting a healthy immune system response .
2. Build Lean Muscle Mass and Enhance Athletic Performance
Athletes have been using bovine colostrum for years to help increase athletic performance and build lean muscle mass. In one study, the insulin-growth factors IGF-1 and IGF-2 hormones in bovine colostrum were found to boost energy levels, burn body fat, build lean muscle mass, and even heal and repair tissue.
These growth hormones, particularly IGF-1, play an integral role in speeding protein synthesis, which is how our bodies respond and send proteins to the right place in our bodies. This process allows glucose to be sent to muscles, resulting in less fatigue and faster recovery.
3. Promote Immune System Health
In addition to vitamins A, B, C, and E, bovine colostrum contains a high concentration of powerful immune-supporting elements:
- Antibodies. Also known as immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, and IgM), these proteins have been known to help support a healthy immune system.
- This iron-binding protein helps prevent bacteria from forming and allows the body’s immune system to respond properly. Lactoferrin in bovine colostrum is an important key ingredient that can help deliver iron to cells.
4. Use Colostrum to Promote Digestive Health
When used as daily dietary supplement, colostrum can be used to promote digestive health with its natural ability to repair leaky gut. Many people suffer from intestinal permeability, or ‘leaky gut,’ as a result of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). Colostrum can help repair leaky gut provided a person also makes healthy lifestyle changes and avoids eating some of the foods that are known to contribute to leaky gut.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the health benefits of taking colostrum?
Bovine colostrum has been used as a supplement to help promote gut health, promote the immune system, build lean muscle in conjunction with a resistance-band training program, or cleanse the colon.
How long does it take to heal leaky gut?
Leaky gut syndrome takes time to develop, so it can take some time to fully heal. Depending on the severity, it can take as little as four weeks up to six months.
How does colostrum promote immune system health?
Colostrum contains the protein-based antibodies IgA and IgG, which can help support the immune system and maintain homeostasis (or “balance”).
Does colostrum build lean muscle mass?
Bovine colostrum contains an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1, which has been known to stimulate and regenerate muscle tissue in conjunction with resistance-band training. Many athletes have used colostrum supplements as part of a regimen to help build lean muscles.
Can bovine colostrum be used to promote digestive health?
Yes! Bovine colostrum supplements can be used to promote digestive health at home.
What is the best way to take colostrum?
Bovine colostrum supplements are available as a liquid, powder, or gelatinized pill. Dosage recommendations vary based on the manufacturer, so be sure to follow directions based on their recommended amounts to achieve your intended goal.
How do you drink bovine colostrum?
Bovine colostrum can be easily added to your daily diet by mixing the powder or liquid supplement with water. You can even include it in your favorite smoothie. The flavor of colostrum has been described as having a slightly sweet taste, so it is easy to incorporate into other drinks.
Can humans take bovine colostrum?
Yes! Bovine colostrum is known to be safe for most people. However, those with a lactose intolerance may want to consult their physician first before taking a colostrum supplement.