Benefits of Colostrum for Athletes

Benefits of Colostrum for Athletes

Professional and amateur athletes often search for ways to improve performance. Now, bovine colostrum offers a safe, effective supplement that has been shown to help athletes perform to their full potential.

Clinical studies have demonstrated colostrum delivers a wide range of benefits for athletes. These benefits include:

Increased Strength and Endurance 

Whey protein is a top choice among athletes who want to become stronger and increase their endurance. But at least two studies have shown bovine colostrum may be a superior choice over whey protein or can be used in conjunction with whey protein to help maximize athletic performance.

A recent study of resistance training in older adults highlighted the benefits of colostrum supplementation to help athletes increase strength and endurance. During the study, men and women received either bovine colostrum or whey protein complex while they participated in a resistance training program. All study participants improved upper body strength, muscle thickness, lean tissue mass, and cognitive function. However, only those who took colostrum increased their leg press strength.

In another study, a group of professional cyclists received either bovine colostrum or whey protein over an eight-week period. Ultimately, cyclists who received colostrum reported a greater improvement in their 40-km time trial. Also, the cyclists who were given colostrum reported better stamina levels and quicker recovery times than those who were given whey protein.

Bovine colostrum is an all-natural superfood that contains growth factors that are nearly 100% bioidentical to those in human colostrum. It contains large quantities of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a type of growth hormone that promotes muscle growth and favors adipose stores over glucose as a fuel source.

IGF-1 is primarily produced by the liver, and its production is stimulated by growth hormone (GH). It is naturally occurring and capable of driving muscle growth on its own.

With long-term bovine colostrum supplementation, athletes can increase their IGF-1 levels. Plus, daily colostrum supplementation helps athletes reduce oxidant-induced damage during exercise, which benefits skeletal muscle tissue.

Improved Immune System Function 

Although many athletic performance supplements claim to boost the immune function, none are capable of delivering the desired results. Instead, what athletes need are performance supplements that balance the immune system or return it to normal function following strenuous physical activity.

During a training regimen, athletes are in an immune-compromised state and open to harmful bacteria and viruses that may cause upper respiratory infections. Additionally, the immune system temporarily shuts down following intense exercise, and the production of T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells is suppressed at this time.

Colostrum transmits immunity for common pathogens via antibodies. It contains natural antibodies that help athletes combat enterococcus, E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, klebsiella pneumonia, and other pathogens. As such, athletes who take colostrum daily may be less susceptible than others to upper respiratory infections.

In addition to antibodies, colostrum contains proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs), short chains of amino acids that help stimulate an underactive immune system or suppress an overactive immune system. PRPs help regulate the thymus gland and stimulate the production of either helper or suppressor T lymphocytes. They act as immune system modulators, and as a result, are essential to return the immune system to a state of balance, particularly when it has been overtaxed by exercise.

PRP-2s in colostrum function as antimicrobials, and together with lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase, eliminate bacteria and viruses on contact. At the same time, lactoferrin helps increase the production of NK cells. Moreover, PRP-3s in colostrum have an anti-inflammatory effect and help calm the immune system when it overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance, such as a food or allergen.

Prevention of Leaky Gut 

Leaky gut” refers to a condition that commonly affects long-distance runners and other athletes. It occurs due to an intestinal tight junction malfunction.

Tight junctions serve as gateways between the intestines that control what the body allows to pass into the bloodstream. They help keep microbes, toxins, and undigested food particles out of the bloodstream.

If tight junctions stop working, foreign particles can enter the bloodstream. When this happens, inflammation occurs, opening the body up to a number of autoimmune conditions, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

The physiological response to increased gut permeability is to get rid of the gut contents. This usually leads to diarrhea, which diminishes athletic performance.