Your gut is a hugely complex system of organs, cells, and beneficial microorganisms designed to break down food, expedite absorption of nutrients, and protect your body from potentially harmful germs and microbes that you ingest. As home to these 40,000 different bacterial species, the microbiome is capable of influencing your mood and behavior and regulating your general health and wellbeing.
However, various lifestyle and environmental factors can bring about deterioration of your intestinal health, leading to problems like leaky gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal hyperpermeability, is a condition characterized by increased permeability within the intestinal walls, which allows toxins, pathogenic microbes, and undigested food particles to breach the intestines and enter the bloodstream. Over time, this ongoing leakiness results in a wide range of symptoms, including skin issues, food allergies, abdominal discomfort, general digestive issues, and autoimmune conditions. Thankfully, a resurgence in interest and clinical research has led to the re-discovery of bovine colostrum. This nutrient-packed liquid is produced in abundance by lactating cows just after the birth of their calves and can be utilized in supplement form to help prevent leaky gut and help decrease generalized inflammation within the body.
Colostrum and Leaky Gut
Research has found that colostrum may be effective in reducing symptoms of leaky gut and healing the intestinal lining to normal levels of permeability. Colostrum contains a diverse range of immunoglobulins, including immunoglobulins A, M, and G, which are effective in combatting a variety of pathogens, particularly those that typically infect the gut, like E. coli, H. pylori, and protozoan amoebas and parasites. Immunoglobulins are capable of binding to bacteria, toxins, and macromolecules, which prevents them from binding to intestinal walls and triggering an immune response.
Bovine colostrum is a rich source of glycans that can help prevent bacterial infections. Researchers discovered that glycans in colostrum may limit the effects of Campylobacter jejuni, the leading bacterial cause of acute infectious diarrhea.
Bovine colostrum contains a variety of growth factors, such as epithelial growth factor, that can support tissue repair and limit gastrointestinal damage. Taking colostrum was shown to support the growth of intestinal villi and repair intestinal barriers that have either become too permeable or impermeable.
Furthermore, colostrum is considered a prebiotic. Unlike probiotics, which are live cultures of beneficial bacteria added into your system, prebiotics work by feeding the existing bacteria in your gut. This can stimulate the growth of the good gut bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This helps your gut’s bacterial community thrive, allowing it to fight off harmful microbes and heal your gut.
Colostrum and Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the contributing factors to leaky gut as well as the result of a leaky gut and the wide range of digestive disorders associated with it. Colostrum is a rich source of bioactive compounds that can help ameliorate inflammation, particularly lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a multifunctional protein that acts as an inflammation moderator. It works by reducing levels of cytokine IL-6, a compound known to cause inflammation. Studies also show that lactoferrin can bind to and neutralize endotoxins, which are toxins released by deteriorating bacteria. This may effectively result in reduced inflammation.
Colostrum is also a rich source of polypeptides or CPs (sometimes referred to as proline-rich polypeptides or PRPs). These small proteins regulate immune responses and rebalance a malfunctioning or over-aggressive immune system that otherwise causes excess inflammation. This can ultimately lead to a reduction in inflammatory swelling and pain. Colostrum’s polypeptides may also be powerful enough to relieve overactive immune responses characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other autoimmune disorders.
Colostrum is known to contain an organic sulfur-containing compound known as methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM. This compound was found in studies to inhibit the production and release of nitric oxide and prostaglandins, two of the main contributors to inflammatory process. Other studies have also shown that MSM reduced the levels of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that promote inflammation, in men performing strenuous exercises.
The aforementioned anti-inflammatory components are plentiful in colostrum, yet it is the abundant growth factors in colostrum that help address existing cellular and tissue damage. Growth factors are compounds which promote the growth, repair, and maturation of cells and tissues throughout the body. They can also help to regenerate tissue and expedite the repair of muscles, skin, bone, cartilage, and nerves affected by inflammation. The most prominent growth factors, particularly for the growth and repair of damaged cartilage and muscle, are transforming growth factors alpha (TGF-α) and beta (TGF-β) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
Other Benefits of Colostrum
Along with its potential to heal a leaky gut and prevent inflammation, colostrum may enhance the immune system. Research suggests that lactoferrin can increase T-cells and white blood cells, which are essential to fighting off invading bacteria and pathogens. Mouse studies showed that oral lactoferrin could strengthen the immune system and reduce symptoms of lab-induced autoimmune conditions. Lactoferrin also possesses natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This allows it to neutralize potentially harmful microbes and prevent them from entering the body.
In addition to lactoferrin, colostrum contains specific antibodies to human pathogens. Dairy cows produce antibodies to the pathogens they encounter which are expressed in their colostrum. If, for instance, a cow is exposed to the human influenza virus (flu), her colostrum will contain influenza antibodies. This makes bovine colostrum supplements an ideal adjunct to the flu shot.
For all its potential health benefits, bovine colostrum supplementation has attracted the interest of researchers worldwide. More studies are being initiated to determine how we can use this all-natural functional food to combat illness and disability. Since the majority of diseases and human suffering can be linked to inflammation, it’s no wonder that a supplement which works with the body’s immune system to address inflammation will be the solution of the future. Visit Sovereign Laboratories to try Colostrum-LD® to improve your health – along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, of course.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.