Colostrum- It’s not just for babies. But could it benefit you?
Colostrum: maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe not. Human colostrum is mother’s first milk, and if breast milk is “liquid gold,” colostrum is its platinum counterpart. And it stands up to the hype; it is an impressive combination of proteins, growth factors and antibodies that are indicated for gut-health supplementation. It nourishes and fortifies all mammals in the first few days after birth. But beyond the baby, why is colostrum relevant to you?
Though it might seem a bit weird, it’s equally intriguing in the applications for adult health. We are evidence-based at CorePerform, and though continued research is needed, the initial findings on colostrum for supplementation are compelling. Before we lose you, we aren’t talking about human milk for adults. Supplementation of colostrum is typically derived from bovine sources, just as we supplement whey protein. The colostrum is typically pasteurized, dehydrated, and sold in powder form.
By design, colostrum promotes growth, immunity, and digestive health. It is much more concentrated in macronutrients, as well as B vitamins and vitamins A, C and E than mature milk. The real chatter isn’t about its macronutrients though, but rather in the unique combination of protein compounds it provides. Specifically, immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides (lactoferrin) and growth factors.
The claims for BC (bovine colostrum) range from immune booster to gut healing properties to increased athletic performance.
Let’s break down the facts so you can decide
Colostrum as a Gut-health Supplement or no?
BC is extremely rich in immunoglobulins, especially IgG, but also IgA, IgE and IgD. Immunoglobulins play a starring role in our body’s immune system, and these bovine specimens aid in that in numerous ways. They have the ability to prevent the binding of pathogens to host cells, to present pathogens to macrophages (cells that destroy pathogens) stimulate T and B cell immune activation. These proteins can also modify intestinal flora and induce local IgA production, of especially notable interest to many CorePerform Clients. In these ways, the bovine IgG provides support to both the innate (inborn) and adaptive immune responses (1).
Lactoferrin is an iron-binding, multi-functional glycoprotein. As a result of its ability to isolate iron, it plays a direct antimicrobial role. It is able to “limit the proliferation and adhesion of microbes and/or kill them” (2). Bovine lactoferrin has also been shown to activate the transcription of important immune related genes (3). More relevant to CorePerform, it has been indicated in clinical studies on patients with H. Pylori. The takeaway here: it plays a significant role in immunology in many pathways.
BC contains several noteworthy growth factors, including Insulin-like Growth Factors I and II. Growth factors are capable of stimulating rapid reproduction of cells (called proliferation) that aids in wound healing. Additionally, IGF-I is encourages protein accumulation, making it likely that it plays a role in the growth-promoting actions of growth hormones (1).
Also of interest in BC are the Transforming Growth Factors A and B. These growth factors participate in attracting healthy cells and cell migration at wound sites (1) This means they help maintain gastrointestinal wall integrity.
It is true that the impressive components of BC are numerous. In fact, we barely touched on all of them here. But we want to be clear that while there are many promising studies supporting the benefits of colostrum, the research is ongoing. In the meantime, it has been deemed safe for human use and CorePerform believes in its potential.
Do I Need This?
At CorePerform, dietitians suggest colostrum when IgA is low for a client, as it is well supported that BC is rich in many immunoglobulins. We most frequently use a GI MAP to diagnose this. The idea is that it will help restore a healthy gastrointestinal tract by modulating the immune system, which will further aid in the resolution of other GI issues. If you’re interested in getting a GI MAP run, email email@example.com. You can view a sample GI MAP report HERE.
Which Colostrum Do You Recommend?
This is the only Colostrum product we recommend – (just create an account, login, and use our team code is “coreperform” to access). It uses a proprietary liposomal delivery system and can be purchased in powdered form for better absorption.
- Playford, Raymond John and Michael James Wieser. Bovine Colostrum: Its Constituents and Uses. Nutrients. January 2021.
- Siqueiros-Cendon, Tania, Sigefredo Arevalo-Gallegos, Blanca Flor Iglesias-Figueroa, Isui Abril Garcia-Montoya, Jose Salazar-Martinez and Quentin Rascon-Cruz. Immunomodulatory Effects of Lactoferrin. Acta Pharmacol Sin. May 2014.
- Yamauchi, Koji, Hiroyuki Wakabayushi, Kouichirou Shin, Mitsunori Takase. Bovine Lactoferrin: Benefits and Mechanism of Action Against Infection. Biochem Cell Biology. June 2006. PMID: 16936799.