How Colostrum Benefits the Skin
Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It protects the body and helps fight infections, yet far too many people tend to take it for granted. From dryness to sun damage, skin has to cope with a number of harsh conditions. Fortunately, supplements like bovine colostrum may help skin stay healthy and strong. Bovine colostrum is the first liquid nutrition that female cows express from their udders after giving birth, and it is packed with macronutrients, antioxidants, growth factors, and other nutrients that may help maintain your skin’s health and wellbeing. Read on to learn more about how colostrum can potentially benefit your skin.
Colostrum and Antioxidants
As your cells metabolize and get exposed to oxygen, they naturally oxidize, giving off free radicals as a byproduct. Free radicals are compounds known to damage cells and organs. They are even capable of causing damage to DNA. If the body enters a state of constant oxidative stress, your health may deteriorate. Free radical damage also contributes to signs of aging, such as wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, age spots, and dull-looking skin.
The antithesis to free radicals is antioxidants, which actively eliminate free radicals and protect all cells and tissue, including the skin. Bovine colostrum is known to be rich with a variety of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and antioxidant precursors. Colostrum is particularly rich in an antioxidant compounds known as glutathione, which is mainly comprised of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. Glutathione deficiency has been linked to increased levels of oxidative stress, while increased glutathione correlates with higher antioxidant levels in general. This reduction in free radical damage can ultimately contribute to healthier skin.
Colostrum Helps Repair Skin Cells
Colostrum is rich in compounds known as growth factors that are known to promote the growth of new cells while repairing and regenerating other cells, including those in the muscles, cartilage, bone, and skin.
The most prominent of these growth factors in colostrum are insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and transforming growth factor alpha and beta (TGF-α and TGF-β). These growth factors contribute to cellular repair and growth in the skin, which can go a long way to reversing sun damage and blemishes. These growth factors also contribute to the production of collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein that creates the foundation for everything from your muscles to your skin. It is essential to your skin’s elasticity and general health.
Epithelial and epidermal growth factors are equally important for skin health, as their names imply. “Skin” growth factors are important to the outer skin as well as the “inner skin,” or the epithelial cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to have a strong barrier to keep harmful substances out of the body; this means a strong G.I. lining AND a strong layering of outer skin.
Skin and Gut Health
Your gut is home to a diverse and interdependent community of bacteria and other microorganisms. This microbiome is usually carefully balanced with good and bad bacteria, ensuring that you properly digest food and absorb nutrients from that food. However, your gut microbiome is likely to exert influence not just on your digestive health, but may also influence your mental health. Along with the gut-brain axis, your gut may also affect skin health. A disbalanced gut is often manifested by acne, breakouts, and general occasional skin concerns.
Probiotics are a common solution for rebalancing the microbiome by introducing beneficial bacteria back into the system. Colostrum is not a probiotic, but it is considered a potential prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that feed the existing good gut bacteria. This allows them to grow, spread, and thrive, and ultimately, outnumber the bad bacteria.
Along with its potential as a prebiotic, colostrum offers a wide range of potential benefits for your gut. The antioxidant properties can reduce oxidative stress damaging your gut, while colostrum’s growth factors can promote cell growth. This may help repair the lining of the stomach and intestines.
How to Use Colostrum for Your Skin
Powdered bovine colostrum can be incorporated into your regular skincare routine.
- Combine colostrum powder with coconut oil to exfoliate skin and leave your face soft and smooth.
- Mix colostrum powder and water into a thick paste and apply it as a face mask. Let it dry before washing it off with cool water.
- Combine colostrum with your usual face lotion or cream and apply normally for its added nutrients and antibodies.
- Take an oral colostrum supplement to support your gut-brain-skin axis.