Bovine Colostrum: The Immunity Booster You Should Know About
How do you keep up good health, especially if you have a busy lifestyle and packed schedule? Eating healthy with superfoods goes a long way, and natural supplements are often recommended. These contribute to your body’s ability to stay strong. Colostrum, as a natural supplement, has piqued the interest of researchers and studies are underway to understand the host of nutritional benefits it offers.
Bovine colostrum is produced by cows who have just given birth. Before they are milked for human consumption, they produce colostrum. It’s a milky fluid that is very rich in nutrients. Colostrum is produced by humans too, and this has always been known to promote growth and improve the health of new-borns. However, emerging research is exploring its effectiveness in strengthening immunity and improving gut health through all life stages.
Although all mammals produce colostrum after giving birth, most colostrum supplements are made from bovine colostrum. It is available in a number of different forms from pills to powders, which makes it convenient to add to your diet.
Bovine colostrum may be the natural health supplement you’re looking for. Why?
It has been found that bovine colostrum contains a lot of macronutrients including proteins like lactoferrin, and fats. Lactoferrin contributes to your body’s response to infections. Colostrum is also rich in vitamins (Bs, As and C, among others) and minerals. The antibodies or immunoglobulins it has – particularly IgG, IgM and IgA – help your body fight against viruses.
Some studies indicate that it can help strengthen intestinal walls, stimulate the growth of new intestinal cells and resist intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability is what results in conditions like the ‘leaky gut’ syndrome in which particles from your intestines leak out into the rest of your body. Lactoferrin could be what is contributing to the strengthening of the gut.
A small study (double blind & placebo-controlled) tried to understand the effects of bovine colostrum in relation to its gut strengthening benefits. The 12 athletes in the study were susceptible to intestinal permeability thanks to their rigorous physical training. The supplement dose given was just 20 grams per day, and it was found that it prevented 80% of the increase in permeability that was seen in those who consumed the placebo. There are further studies being conducted on the possible benefits that bovine colostrum could offer in relation to treating colitis.
Scientific work is underway to assess the benefits of this emerging nutraceutical (a food that provides health benefits). Researchers have been particularly interested in its gut improvement and immunity boosting contributions. Studies are being conducted to understand its benefits in treating specific conditions such as colitis and diarrhoea.
The role it may play in improving gastrointestinal conditions is promising. Scientists are looking at the possibility that it could be used to treat damage to the stomach caused by excessive use of non-steroid anti-inflammatories, infections with specific bacteria (such as those related to stomach ulcers) and infectious diarrhoea.
A study from 2018 with baby macaque monkeys found that this supplement helped improve the mineral density of their bones.
In a nutshell, the nutrients in bovine colostrum could help your body fight disease and boost your immunity. It could also promote growth and benefit gut health. Both human and animal studies are being conducted to understand the extent of this supplement’s benefits.
Colostrum doesn’t contain lactose, so it is considered to be safe for those who are lactose intolerant. However, bovine colostrum supplements could contain other common allergens like soy, so you should check with a health professional before adding them to your diet.
Colostrum’s texture resembles highly concentrated milk liquid. It can be quite thick and sticky. The colour could vary. In its original form it could be white or yellow. Sometimes it’s even clear. But the bovine colostrum supplements that reach you will be in the form of a pills or powders.
Based on human research that has been conducted so far, bovine colostrum supplements seem to be safe for most people to consume. However, we do not yet have an answer on whether it is safe for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. It is advised that you begin this supplement on the recommendation of a qualified health professional.
Since this is a natural supplement obtained from cows, their diet also influences the colostrum’s efficacy. It’s wise to buy only those supplements that have been tested to show that they are free from synthetic hormones, antibiotics as well as pesticides.