What is Bovine Colostrum?
If you’re not sure what bovine colostrum is, you’re certainly not alone. Colostrum is the “first food” for all newborn mammals and it’s vital to their survival. Human mothers also produce colostrum for their newborns a few days before true breast milk appears. Bovine colostrum is a nutrient-dense substance that comes from dairy cows (bovine). Sometimes referred to as “pre-milk,” colostrum contains, antioxidants, growth factors, macronutrients, and more than 100 additional vital bioactives.
Bovine colostrum is well-known as a supplement for gut health, particularly as a nutritional approach to increased gut permeability, or “leaky gut.” While colostrum may be effective in promoting gut health, many people only use the supplement for a few months and discontinue when they believe they have achieved feeling the whole of the Colostrum’s benefits. This can be self-defeating and forgoes all of the other potential benefits that colostrum offers.
How Taking Colostrum Every Day May Help You
Experts agree that bovine colostrum could be taken every day, preferably twice a day for best health benefit.
Good for Your Skin
Taking colostrum on a daily basis could be the key to healthy skin and a clear, glowing, silky complexion. Colostrum contains bioactive compounds called growth factors (or growth hormones), which play a direct role in regenerating and repairing cells and tissue throughout the human body, from bones to muscles to skin. Colostrum is particularly rich in transforming growth factor alpha and beta as well as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which can help to heal blemishes and sun damage. These growth factors also play a role in collagen production. Collagen is one of the main structural proteins for your tissues, including your skin.
Support for a Healthy Immune System
Colostrum features several compounds and proteins that promote a healthy immune system. Colostrum is rich with three major components: IgA, IgG, and IgM. Immunoglobulins, are a type of protein that work with the immune system.
Colostrum also offers a rich amount of lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a type of iron-binding glycoprotein and is believed to be one of the most effective immune system modulators. Lactoferrin has been shown to support natural immunities.
A Boost of Energy
Whether you’re an athlete or just find yourself getting sluggish throughout the day, bovine colostrum may provide you with the energy boost that you need. Colostrum provides a source of protein to fuel you throughout your day. In one study, a group of trained cyclists were provided with either 10 grams of colostrum or 10 grams of whey protein per day over the course of five weeks. By the end of the study, the colostrum group presented greater improvements in time trial intensity, ventilator threshold, and overall physical performance. This suggests the potential for colostrum to improve physical performance and prevent fatigue.
Good for the Gut
As mentioned, colostrum offers a huge potential benefit for gut health, and not just as a restorative. Think of colostrum as a tool for maintaining good gut health and supporting the microbiome.
Your gut microbiome may also be under constant attack from emotional stress and poor diet. Daily colostrum may help to maintain the health of your gut bacteria, which may translate to better health overall.
A Nutrient Goldmine
We can’t stress enough just the sheer nutrient density of colostrum. Common vitamins and minerals found in colostrum include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- B vitamin complex
How Long Does It Take Colostrum to Work?
Like any other dietary supplement, the length of time it takes to see benefits after initial use of colostrum varies based on a wide range of factors, including age, metabolism, and general health. When taken twice a day, most children and adults should notice results within four to six weeks after they first use colostrum.
In general, colostrum works best as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Some factors, like prolonged stress and excessive drinking or smoking, can potentially prevent the proper absorption of colostrum, which either negates its benefits or increases the amount of time before you to experience positive health changes. For the best results and ongoing health benefits, incorporate your daily colostrum usage into an already healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.
In dogs and cats, some owners notice almost immediate improvements after administration. However, you should generally expect it to take much longer. It may take at least one month, if not longer, to see long-term results. Because animals aren’t able to tell us how they feel, it may be a little difficult for owners to gauge what’s going on. The key is to remain consistent and provide the colostrum supplement daily at the same time each day.
Before integrating colostrum or any other supplements into your diet, check with your doctor, especially if you have any specific health concerns or want to address your health goals in general. A healthcare provider with knowledge of the scientific literature on colostrum is your best ally in helping you make the most of this “superfood.”
When to Take Colostrum
Sovereign Laboratories recommends taking colostrum twice a day — once upon rising, 30 minutes before breakfast, and once before bedtime and at least two hours after the last meal of the day. Similarly, infants and toddlers should take colostrum at least twice a day. Because their stomachs do not yet produce the harsh acids, the concerns that adults have about colostrum being digested is less of a factor. Bottle-fed babies can take colostrum plain with water or mixed into formula. Pets should be given colostrum twice per day at feeding time, or whenever is most convenient for owners.
Since colostrum is a natural supplement, it may be consumed on an empty stomach for adults. For anyone with specific health conditions, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new supplement. You’ll gain insight on how to maximize the benefits.
How Much Colostrum Should I Take?
The optimal amount of colostrum to take depends on the individual, his/her health status, age, and lifestyle factors. Follow the recommendations on the packaging or check with your physician, especially if you have an advanced need.
People coping with GI concerns may benefit from higher quantities of colostrum or taking it more frequently throughout the day. In some instances, it may take some people longer than others to experience the benefits of colostrum. A naturopathic practitioner, dietitian, or nutrition consultant may be the best care provider to craft a plan to integrate colostrum into the diet.
Why Colostrum Is Ideal for Everyone
For all of the above reasons, colostrum makes for a potentially beneficial supplement for people of all ages, from toddlers to adults, as well as your favorite animal companions.
The potential health benefits can be significant. Along with its potential to reduce the risk of leaky gut, colostrum may support the immune system and promote digestive health. Colostrum supplementation is also an ideal adjunct to formula for babies unable to be breastfed.
For cats and dogs, colostrum supplements may support healthy growth and development and provide a much-needed immune system support. Vulnerable newborn kittens and puppies can be supplemented with colostrum, particularly if they receive limited or no breastmilk from mom.
Why Choose Liposomal Bovine Colostrum?
There’s a world of supplements in the marketplace today, yet liposomal bovine colostrum remains in a class all its own. Because of its wide-ranging health benefits, liposomal colostrum should be regarded as the foundational supplement atop which other supplements are added. Liposomal delivery is extremely beneficial for bioavailability. That means a little liposomal colostrum goes a long way, and much further than a non-liposomal colostrum.
Check with your doctor to learn how colostrum can be included as part of a healthy diet.