Bovine colostrum contains a diverse mix of vitamins, minerals, growth factors, antibodies, and other immune bioactives -- more than 200 components -- that work together to support digestive health, the immune system, and the skin. When used daily, colostrum has the potential to optimize and maintain numerous aspects of human health, yet it is not by any means a panacea. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has a significant impact on colostrum’s efficacy. 

Learn to maximize the power of colostrum with a healthy lifestyle and prudent, balanced choices.

A Balanced Diet

Evidence generally shows that bovine colostrum has a beneficial effect on intestinal epithelial inflammatory response, thereby encouraging a healthy intestinal lining. Colostrum may also inhibit E. coli and other invasive microbes from adhering to the intestinal lining. Studies have shown that lactoferrin, a key bioactive in colostrum, is effective at inhibiting bacterial biofilms that otherwise protect the colonization (overgrowth) of “bad” bacterial species in the gut.

Because bovine colostrum contains oligosaccharides, colostrum works as a prebiotic fostering colonization of good bacteria in the gut.

Despite a favorable effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on the gut, it does not mean that you can eat any and every food without consequence. A diet high in inflammatory foods, which includes foods containing sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates or alcoholic beverages, can still cause problems for your gut. Regularly consuming foods that contribute to inflammation simply isn’t productive. The action of the colostrum bioactives is like a counterweight, but at some point, can’t overcome the damage to the delicate intestinal lining. The bottom line is that if you have a leaky gut or any form of inflammatory bowel disease, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by continuing to eat foods that hurt you.

Instead, your goal should involve supporting colostrum’s effects and improving your health by consuming a balanced, nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet. This mainly means focusing on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein, while avoiding over-processed foods that are high in added sugar and chemical preservatives. For conditions associated with excessive inflammation, consider an anti-inflammatory diet, which involves a more plant-based diet with plenty of fish for omega-3 fatty acids.

Regular Exercise

Research shows that regular colostrum supplementation may contribute to better endurance, muscle gain, and overall physical performance, but you don’t have to be a professional athlete to get these benefits. Colostrum supplements are packed with nutrients, especially growth factors, that can enhance your workouts while minimizing the negative impact of heavy exercise on the immune system. Combining colostrum with a regular exercise routine can help to improve your physique, improve recovery time, and encourage weight loss.

Regular exercise is also known to support digestive health. Workouts play a role in encouraging proper digestion and preventing constipation. Regular exercise may also have some anti-inflammatory effects. Above all, exercise is effective in managing mental and emotional stress, which has a huge negative impact on digestive health and overall well-being if not addressed.

Spending Time in Nature

Sunshine and fresh air can have some intrinsic benefits to your brain and body, especially within the context of nature. People who spend time in nature (i.e., ecotherapy, green time) will attest to this, and there’s increasing scientific evidence of its benefit on mental health. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase sense of happiness and well-being. Feeling the warmth of the sun on your face and the fresh air in your lungs can be reinvigorating. So, whether it’s walking along the beach, in the woods, or in a city park, your favorite nature activity can bring mindfulness to an otherwise stressful day.

Vitamin D

The body synthesizes vitamin D when your skin is directly exposed to the UV rays from sunshine. While vitamin D is best associated with calcium absorption and strong bones, studies suggest that vitamin D may actively protect against a wide range of diseases and disorders, from depression to cancer to osteoporosis. While you should still wear sunscreen, especially on your face, when you spend extended time outside, even some limited sun exposure can do wonders for your vitamin D levels.

Physical Activity

While you can still get plenty of exercise indoors, indoor time is generally associated with sedentary activity. Being outdoors naturally contributes to a wider range of possible activities and more physical activity itself, from jogging and biking to gardening and doing yard work.

Cognition

Rat studies found that exposure to UV rays resulted in an increase in the neurotransmitter glutamate, which stimulated brain activity, particularly in areas related to memory and motor learning. While this was admittedly a rat study, some sun and fresh air may still help to clear your mind. 

Quit Smoking 

Cigarette smoking is well-known for its laundry list of health problems, including contributions to cardiovascular disease and various forms of cancer. However, studies show that cigarette smoke actively depletes nutrients. It lowers levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene in the blood and vitamin E in tissue. Tobacco reduces the bioavailability of selenium and antagonizes zinc. Other components in tobacco are known to reduce several members of the B-vitamin complex.

Smoking also induces overproduction of free radicals in the body whichdamages cells and DNA. In turn, this contributes to inflammation and eventually leads to serious diseases. While antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, smoking depletes antioxidants, essentially leaving you with fewer antioxidants to fight free radicals.

This ultimately means that cigarette smoking can prevent absorption of the nutrients in colostrum and deplete existing nutrients, while causing damage to your cells. The good news is that the body can almost immediately begin to recover as soon as you quit smoking.

Quality Sleep 

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, its value is often underestimated, and the statistics clearly demonstrate the problem. Nearly 35% of American adults don’t get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. High-quality, restorative sleep has a definite health value according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society which recommends at least seven hours nightly for adults who are between 18 and 60 years old. Anything less -- on an ongoing basis -- has been linked with an elevated risk of developing hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, anxiety and depression. 

Stress-reduction 

Even though it’s our individual perception of stressful events that influences how we experience it, most people would agree that when stress becomes chronic and/or unmanageable, it becomes harmful to your health. Stress can cause our stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, to increase towards unhealthy levels. That’s why stress management is so important, and each individual has strategies and coping mechanisms that work best for him or her whether it’s physical or mental exercise. Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, massage, journaling, or psychotherapy with a mental health professional offer stress reduction benefits.

Bovine colostrum is just one component of a comprehensive plan to maximize your health, vitality, and longevity. Colostrum can only do so much for you, so lifestyle cannot be understated. A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction will compound the benefits of colostrum supplementation and help you achieve the best you possible.

Sources:

  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco
  • https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2018/10/12/sunlight-and-the-brain
  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08927014.2013.773317