Colostrum: What is it and how can it benefit us?

Yes, it’s kind of weird, but slightly intriguing…That is, to most people who aren’t Mums or Dads. To them, colostrum isn’t strange at all, know it as the first milk the mother produces at the end of pregnancy and shortly after birth and value it as a natural, nutrient-dense superfood that gives their baby everything it needs to thrive at the beginning of life. It’s the liquid gold version of the stuff we’ve been told we should drink since the ‘80s because it “does a body good.”

So, if milk “does a body good,” in theory, colostrum does a body better? 

In fact, traditional cultures worldwide have used colostrum (both human and animal) in food, medicine, cultural, and religious rituals for centuries. However, only recently has colostrum been studied in the lab.

As a dietary supplement, colostrum has been shown to support immunity, strengthen the gut, and improve athletic performance. Without further ado, let’s take a look at colostrum: the substance, the supplement, the claims, and supporting evidence so you can separate the cream from the milk.

What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is a substance produced in a mother’s mammary glands shortly before and after birth. It’s the first food of all newborn mammals. Since newborns have undeveloped digestive and immune systems, they need a turbo boost of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies to jump-start their growth, form their gut lining, and fortify their immune system. Colostrum is naturally formulated to deliver these goods in a way that mature milk cannot and is essential for every newborns’ survival.  A growing amount of research shows that it may be beneficial at any stage of life, and as a dietary supplement, colostrum from cows (bovine colostrum) contains many of the same nutrients and has many health benefits as human colostrum.

Some of the compounds unique to colostrum include:

  • Lactoferrin: a protein that’s a crucial part of the immune defence system.
  • Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM): small proteins used by the immune system to seek out and destroy foreign antigens (invaders).
  • Growth Factors (IGF-I, IGF-II, EGF): proteins that assist with the maintenance and growth of specific body tissues, including muscle and the gastrointestinal lining.

The Health Benefits of Bovine Colostrum

Colostrum for Immune Support
The Claim:  
Colostrum may support a healthy immune system.
The Research:  
Two studies on elite athletes suggest that colostrum supplementation may be effective in boosting immune system function, with data showing significantly increased number of antibodies in distance runners’ saliva, and more favourable serum levels of immune cells post-exercise than a placebo. But you don’t need to be an elite athlete to reap colostrum’s immune-boosting benefits as it may enhance the immune response in ordinary subjects as well.

Colostrum for Gut Health
The Claim: 
Colostrum may strengthen the gut wall and decrease gut permeability.
The Research: 
Numerous studies have demonstrated that colostrum aids in the strengthening of the gut lining by stimulating the growth of the cells that line the gut wall, likely the result of the abundance of lactoferrin and it’s prebiotic properties. It is also suitable for the lactose intolerant as it does not contain lactose.

Colostrum for Athletes
The Claims: 
Colostrum may be superior to other proteins for the development of lean mass and strength and may improve athletic recovery.
The Research: 
Because colostrum is rich in various growth hormones and is a source of dietary protein, a growing number of hopeful athletes use colostrum to accelerate their strength and body composition gains. While it does not appear to provide many additional benefits when it comes to their strength and body composition goals, the effect on their recovery, on the other hand, is promising. Recent trials have shown that athletes that took colostrum demonstrated faster post-exercise recovery and optimal performance maintenance.

Quality is our top priority, which is why we personally like Kion Bovine Colostrum. It is sourced from grass-fed cows that feed on single-origin natural pastures and is GMO-Free, Hormone-Treatment-Free, antibiotic-free, and BSE-free.

As we’ve learned, our “first food” doesn’t just set us up for good health in our infancy. It’s also something that can promote health and vitality throughout our life.

 If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.