Bovine colostrum is the first milk-like substance produced by the mammary glands of a female cow immediately after the birth of a calf.
The purpose of colostrum is to provide the offspring with antibodies and nutrition that will aid in the fortification of the immune system.
Bovine colostrum contains many beneficial substances. The most important of these substances are: Immunoglobins, Lactoferin, Proline-Rich Polypeptide, Cytokines and Vitamins.
2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Traditionally, colostrum has been used as a remedy for treating diarrhea; a condition which is caused by harmful bacteria.1 However, science has shown that colostrum is a diverse substance that has many other applications.
Colostrum destroys harmful bacteria and protects against viruses.2, 3, 4 The Indian Ayurvedic medicine system has used colostrum for thousands of years to kill bacteria and to treat infections. Colostrum [lactalbumin] has also been shown in experiments to selectively target cancerous cells and to destroy them.5
The ability of colostrum to increase IGF-1 levels is well known.6 IGF-1 helps to lower bad cholesterol, and bodyfat.7 Due to colostrums GH content, supplementation may prove beneficial in the fight against aging.8
Colostrum contains interlukens. Interlukens may help alleviate suffering associated with arthritis, as well as symptoms associated with the bodies reaction to environmental allergens.
Listed are the important substances found in bovine colostrum, and provided is a brief explanation as to their function and relevance.
Are the element in colostrum responsible for warding off diseases and viruses. 9
Research has shown that, while not a cure, lactoferin is effective in combating immune ravaging disease processes like AIDS and cancer.10
Different types of proteins that work with the thymus gland and regulates the immune system.
Help to boost T-cell activity, and help to regulate the bodies response to exercise and other stimuli.11
Vitamins and Amino Acids
Colostrum contains many vitamins and minerals. Among the most important are the B vitamins and antioxidants. It also has a host of essential and non-essential amino acids.
To obtain maximum benefit from supplemental colostrum, it is important to buy "first milking" colostrum. Look for this phrase on the label when making a purchase, and also be sure to obtain colostrum that has been manufactured using the low-heat spray method. This method will ensure that all beneficial ingredients are intact.
3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
There are no signs of deficiency, but everyone can benefit from supplementing with colostrum. Populations that may benefit most from the consumption of colostrum include: diabetics, the overweight or obese, accident victims, persons suffering from terminal illness, and athletes.
Diabetics may benefit from supplementing with colostrum because of colostrums ability to assist in the regulation of blood sugar.12
The overweight or obese, who frequently suffer from chronic hypertension, will find that colostrum lowers blood pressure, and because of its GH content, will simultaneously lower bodyfat levels.13
Accident victims or those who have recently undergone surgery, may find that colostrum speeds healing and recovery.14 This is, in part, due to its GH and immunoglobin content. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women [and some men] who suffer from chronic yeast infections may benefit from supplemental colostrum. Colostrums ability to inhibit yeast formation may be responsible for this apparent, but yet scientifically unproved, benefit.
4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
No side effects have been reported. Individuals suffering from diabetes, prostatitis, dwarfism, obesity, hypertension, HIV or cancer, should consult a qualified medical practitioner prior to the use of supplemental colostrum.
Follow the directions as prescribed on the product's label.
5. Where can I get it?
There are different brand names that manufacture supplemental colostrum.
Written by Bodybuilding.com writer, Clayton South.
1. Sarker SA, Casswall TH, Mahalanabis D, et al. Successful treatment of rotavirus diarrhea in children with immunoglobulin from immunized bovine colostrum. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1998;17:1149-54.
2. Majumdar, A. S., et al., Protective properties of anti-cholera antibodies in human colostrum. Infect. Immun. 1982. 36:p. 962965.
3. McClead, R., et al., Resistance of bovine anti-cholera toxin IgG to in vitro and in vivo proteolysis. Pedia. Res. 1982.6: p. 227-231.
4. Lawton, J. W. M., et al., Interferon synthesis by human colostral leukocytes. Arch. Dis. Childhood. 1979. 54: p.127-130.
5. Hakansson et al., Proceedings, Nat. Acad. of Sciences, Vol. 92, pp. 8064-8068, Aug. 1995.
6. Mero A, Miikkulainen H, Riski J, et al. Effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on serum IGF-I, IgG, hormone, and saliva IgA during training. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:1144-51.
7. Clark, Daniel G. and Wyatt, Kaye. Colostrum, Life?s First Food. Salt Lake City:CNR Publications. 1996.
8. Rudman, D.; et al. Effects of Human Growth Hormone in Men over 60 Years Old. N. Eng. J. Med. 323:1-6, 1990.
9. Butler, J. E. Immunoglobulins of the Mammary Secretions. Chapter Five. in: Lactation: A Comprehensive Treatise. Vol. 3. Eds. B. L. Larson and V. R. Smith. pp. 217-252. Academic Press. New York. 1974.
10. Kohl, S. et al., Human colostral cytotoxicity: antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against herpes simplex infected cells mediated by colostral cells. Journal of Clinical Laboratory Immunology, 1, pp. 221-224.
11.Bucci, L. Dr. and Shugarman, Alan E. Moo Muscle: Could Colostrum, the ultimate baby food, be the ultimate bodybuilding supplement? Flex Mag. January, 2001. pp. 224-231.
12. Dohm, Elton, et al. IgF-1 stimulated glucose transport. Diabetes, Sept. 30, 1990, pp. 1028-32.
13. Oda, S., et al., Insulin-like growth factor-l (IGF-1), growth hormone (GH), insulin and glucagon concentrations in bovine colostrum and in plasma of dairy cows and neonatal calves around parturition. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 1989. 94A(4): p. 805-808.
14. Sporn, et al. Polypeptide Transforming Growth Factors (TGF A & B) and Epithelial Growth Factor isolated from bovine colostrum used for wound healing in vivo. Science, 219, pp. 1329-31, 1983.