The History of Bovine Colostrum

The History of Bovine Colostrum

The History of Bovine Colostrum

Bovine colostrum is the first milk that mother cows produce after giving birth to a calf. This nutrient dense milk plays a critical role in the development of young calves. It has also captured the attention of health advocates throughout the years, and the history of colostrum being used by people extends back thousands of years.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the history of colostrum use by humans, explain a little bit about what bovine colostrum is and explore the uses that colostrum may have in the future. We’ll cover all of these topics and more in the following sections:

  • How Have People Used Colostrum in History?

How Have People Used Colostrum in History?

If you’ve seen a colostrum supplement in the store or purchased some online, then it’s natural to think of colostrum as a relatively new discovery. However, that’s not actually the case. Throughout a decent portion of human history, people have known that colostrum was different from regular cow’s milk. This milk-like substance, which is produced by cows in the 72 hours following the birth of a calf, is a nutritionally rich substance that contains many rare bioactive compounds.

The first known instances of bovine colostrum being used for human benefit come from India. According to research from João M. Rocha of the University of Porto1 there are records from Ayurvedic physicians showing that colostrum was prescribed for human use. Rocha also notes that a dessert made of colostrum and honey was used to celebrate the birth of a new child in parts of modern-day Scandinavia.

Colostrum was first studied using the modern scientific method in 1799 by a scientist named Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland. During his studies, Hufeland was able to directly correlate the consumption of colostrum with the healthy growth and development of young calves. Despite the efforts of Hufeland, it wouldn’t be until 1920 that a scientist would attempt to understand the benefits of bovine colostrum for humans.

Since 1920, the interest in bovine colostrum for human use has rapidly accelerated. It has been of particular interest for professionals concerned with gut health, as the rare bioactives in colostrum can help to improve gut function.

Today, colostrum is primarily found in supplements that are designed to provide a wide range of benefits. These supplements, such as the ones offered here at Sovereign Laboratories, hope to help people lead healthier lives. And every year, there are more studies being done on colostrum to prove its usefulness to humans.

Where is Colostrum Found?

Colostrum is a milk-like substance that is produced by mother cows in the 72 hours after they give birth to a calf. To get colostrum, farmers use a process similar to milking a cow, but they always make sure to provide the first bit of colostrum produced, as well as some extra, to the calf first. This ensures the health of the calf, allowing them to ethically provide colostrum to people like you!

Nutrients Found in Colostrum

Colostrum is notable for its rare combination of essential nutrients, immune factors, and oligosaccharides. This nutrient dense substance is only produced by mother cows for a short period of time after a calf is born, and serves as something of a “kick start” to the development of the calf. It does this by providing the calf with a huge boost of nutritional content.

These vitamins and nutrients found in colostrum are not just things that can be used by calves. Many of them could have benefits for people as well. Some of the notable nutrients and vitamins contained in colostrum are protein, peptides, non-protein nitrogen, minerals, hormones, immunoglobulins, growth factors, cytokines and nucleotides2. The reason it’s so notable that all of these things are present in colostrum is because many of these substances occur in very limited amounts in nature.

The Difference between Natural Colostrum and Colostrum Supplements

Natural colostrum is used as an ingredient in colostrum supplements, but is enhanced by more effective delivery systems and methodologies. The reason for this is fairly simple. Bovine colostrum, while nutritionally rich, is meant for calves and not people. People can benefit from natural, pure colostrum, but not nearly as much as a calf would. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as humans and cows are different.

What supplements aim to do is maximize the benefits that humans can get from colostrum. Delivery methods like Sovereign Laboratories’ liposomal delivery (LD) are designed to increase the absorption potential for humans, allowing them to get the maximum benefit from nutritionally rich colostrum.

The Future of Colostrum

As time passes, we’re hopeful that more studies will continue to be performed on bovine colostrum. With a greater research focus, there is higher likelihood that more benefits will be discovered, and existing benefits can be scientifically confirmed by multiple sources.

In the future, it’s expected that colostrum will continue to be used primarily for skin, gut health and immune system benefits. However, with increased study and scientific consensus, it’s possible that colostrum will be put toward new uses that benefit human health.

1 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307508209_On_the_Historical_Background_of_Bovine_Colostrum

2 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.651721/full

3 Bovine Colostrum: Its Constituents and Uses: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7831509/