Colostrum is commonly referred to as the “first food of life.” It comes directly from a mother’s breast immediately after giving birth and offers numerous benefits for newborns, including:
- Anti-inflammatory support
- Nutrients and vitamins to help a newborn grow and develop
- Closing of the natural holes in the stomach and small intestine to prevent future permeability
- Seeding the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with beneficial bacteria for a healthy microbiome
All mammalian mothers produce colostrum. While commercially available colostrum products typically consist of bovine colostrum, goat colostrum is also gaining in popularity, although the supply is minimal.
Human and bovine colostrum are similar, but it is important to note that human colostrum is for babies only. Most mother’s colostrum can be measured in just teaspoons, so the quantity is quite small. However, both children and adults may enjoy many of the same health benefits of human colostrum if they take a bovine (cow) colostrum supplement.
A Closer Look at the Composition Differences Between Human and Bovine Colostrum
Immunoglobulins (antibodies) are found in both human and bovine colostrum. Human colostrum consists primarily of IgA, one of the most common antibodies in an individual’s body. IgA is found in the secretions of the mucosal surfaces, such as tears and saliva.
Comparatively, bovine colostrum contains a high concentration of IgA, as well as immunoglobulins G (IgG), E (IgE), D (IgD), and M (IgM). It also contains about 40 times more antibodies than human colostrum.
2. Growth Factors
Growth factors function as chemical messengers that aid in the growth, organization, and maintenance of cells and tissues. Plus, growth factors support wound healing, skin repair, and heal intestinal hyperpermeability (excessive permeability between the tight junctions that comprise the GI lining).
Human colostrum contains two unique growth factors – CAGF and CBGF. CAGF serves as an epidermal growth factor, while CBGF promotes platelet differentiation.
On the other hand, bovine colostrum contains a higher concentration of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) than human colostrum. It also contains special enzymes that prevent growth factors from being digested.
Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It has been shown to help newborns absorb and retain many important minerals, including calcium, manganese, and zinc.
Human colostrum contains the highest amount of lactose available to any species. The lactose in human colostrum supports a newborn’s brain growth and development, as well as a child’s fluid loss through sweating and urine formation.
Conversely, bovine colostrum contains less lactose than human colostrum. Extra lactose can be removed from bovine colostrum supplements by adding the lactase enzyme. Bovine colostrum also includes a higher concentration of casein, a protein that provides the building blocks of muscle, than its human counterpart.
Which Is Better: Human or Bovine Colostrum?
Human colostrum contains substances that support a newborn’s immune system. Also, human colostrum helps repair intestinal permeability, aka “leaky gut.” All human babies are born with holes in the stomach and small intestine. These holes allow antibodies, proteins, and other natural components to pass through the bloodstream. Colostrum helps close these holes after a few days of breastfeeding. If a baby is not breastfed adequately during the first few years of life, these holes may, over time, reopen. The result is leaky gut, which has been linked to a number of short- and long-term health conditions.
Colostrum is a significant part of the growth and development of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and other farm animals as well. In fact, the longer a farm animal goes without colostrum after birth, the more likely it becomes that this animal will not survive. First, there is an immediate risk of bruising, inflammation, and pain due to the physical trauma associated with birth and going through the narrow space of the birth canal. Colostrum helps calm the baby and ease the pain by decreasing the swelling and inflammation.
Second, animals are born without a functioning immune system. They pass through the birth canal and are instantly exposed to pathogens from the outside world, whether from the farm environment or farm workers. Colostrum works quickly to help safeguard newborn animals through the transfer of immunity from mother to child. Additionally, colostrum helps stimulate rapid muscle, bone, and tissue growth so animals can survive beyond the initial days and get on their legs quickly.
It is crucial to note that human babies can survive without colostrum, too. This is often the case if a new mom doesn’t produce much colostrum, can’t nurse her newborn, or an infant is adopted. But for babies who do not receive a sufficient amount of colostrum at a young age, they potentially risk developmental health problems related to leaky gut.
What to Expect from a Bovine Colostrum Supplement
Bovine colostrum supplements come in pill and powder forms. Regardless of how a bovine colostrum supplement is consumed, the product may be incorporated into a person’s everyday diet. But the results of a bovine colostrum supplement vary based on the product itself.
For instance, the bioactives contained in bovine colostrum supplements sometimes differ based on how the cows that sourced the products were raised. Therefore, it is paramount to review the ingredients of a bovine colostrum supplement before purchase.
In certain instances, it may be beneficial to select a bovine colostrum supplement that has a lactose-reduced formula. Lactose sensitivity is a problem that affects millions of adults, and a bovine colostrum product with a lactose-reduced formula is designed for individuals with lactose intolerance or lactose sensitivity. Of course, anyone who has had an anaphylactic reaction to dairy products should avoid colostrum entirely.
Also, not all bovine colostrum products deliver optimal results. In some instances, manufacturers fail to process bovine colostrum on a regular basis, which may affect a bovine colostrum supplement’s effectiveness.
Choose Colostrum-LD® for Bovine Colostrum Supplementation
For those who are searching for a bovine colostrum supplement, Sovereign Laboratories can help. We offer Colostrum-LD®, a bovine colostrum product that is manufactured in a technologically advanced facility dedicated exclusively to the processing of colostrum for human consumption. To learn more about Colostrum-LD®, please visit our blog or website.This article was brought to you by Sovereign Laboratories, a world leader in the development of liposomal delivery to maximize the bioavailability of our dietary supplements.