COLOSTRUM Overview Information
Colostrum is a milky fluid that comes from the breasts of humans, cows, and other mammals the first few days after giving birth, before true milk appears. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins (antibodies) that fight disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses. Antibody levels in colostrums can be 100 times higher than levels in regular cow’s milk.
People originally got interested in bovine colostrum because of the high antibody levels. They thought that the antibodies might prevent intestinal infections in people, but they seem to be wrong.
Some athletes use bovine colostrum to burn fat, build lean muscle, increase stamina and vitality, and improve athletic performance. Bovine colostrum is not on the banned drug list of the International Olympic Committee.
Bovine colostrum is also used for boosting the immune system, healing injuries, repairing nervous system damage, improving mood and sense of well being, slowing and reversing aging, and as an agent for killing bacteria and fungus.
Bovine colostrum is used in the rectum to treat inflammation of the colon (colitis).
Researchers have created a special type of bovine colostrum called “hyperimune bovine colostrum.” This special colostrum is produced by cows that have received vaccinations against specific disease-causing organisms. The vaccinations cause the cows to develop antibodies to fight those specific organisms. The antibodies pass into the colostrum. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum has been used in clinical trials for treating AIDS-related diarrhea, diarrhea associated with graft versus host disease following bone marrow transplant, and rotavirus diarrhea in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted hyperimmune bovine colostrum “orphan drug status.” Under the Orphan Drug Law, drug makers who invest in the development of treatments for rare conditions enjoy special market advantages; for example, permission to sell the drug without competition for 7 years. If these special incentives were not in place, pharmaceutical companies might not develop drugs for rare conditions because the potential market is so small.
How does it work?
Colostrum is collected from cows that have been vaccinated to produce antibodies that fight the bacteria that cause diarrheal disease. These antibodies appear in the colostrum that is collected as medicine. Though the hope is that these cow antibodies will help fight human disease, the cow antibodies do not seem to be very active in humans.
Possibly Effective for:
- Infectious diarrhea. Taking bovine colostrum seems to reduce infectious diarrhea in children and people with a weakened immune system, including those with HIV/AIDS and bone marrow transplant recipients. Most clinical trials have used hyperimmune bovine colostrum. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum has FDA orphan drug status for AIDS-related diarrhea. However, some research suggests that taking hyperimmune bovine colostrum by mouth does not improve symptoms of infectious diarrhea caused by Shigella bacteria.
- Athletic performance. Developing research suggests that bovine colostrum might increase athletic performance for many, but not all, athletic activities. Activities that seem to benefit are jumping and bicycle sprints, but not running on a treadmill, rowing, or resistance training.
- Inflammation of the colon (colitis). There is some early evidence that a rectal enema containing 10% bovine colostrum might be helpful for treating colitis.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Some early evidence shows that taking hyperimmune bovine colostrum by mouth for 4 weeks does not relieve symptoms of MS. However, other early evidence shows that taking anti-measles bovine colostrum by mouth for 30 days may improve symptoms of MS.
- Upper respiratory tract infection, including the common cold and flu (influenza). Early research suggests that taking bovine colostrum for 8 weeks can reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections in young, physically active males.
- Stimulating the immune system.
- Healing injuries.
- Repairing nervous system damage.
- Burning fat.
- Building lean muscle.
- Increasing stamina and vitality.
- Elevating mood and sense of well-being.
- Slowing and reversing aging.
- Bacterial and fungal infections.
- Other conditions.
COLOSTRUM Side Effects & Safety
Bovine colostrum seems to be LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately by mouth. When it is given rectally as an enema it seems to be POSSIBLY SAFE for most people. While most people don't experience any side effects from bovine colostrum, there have been rare reports of problems in HIV-positive people such as nausea, vomiting, abnormal liver function tests, and decreased red blood cells.
There is some concern about the possibility of catching "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalitis, BSE) or other diseases from products that come from animals. "Mad cow disease" does not appear to be transmitted through milk products, but it is probably wise to avoid animal products from countries where "mad cow disease" has been found.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking bovine colostrum if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to cow’s milk: If you are allergic to cow’s milk or milk products, you may also be allergic to bovine colostrum. In that case, it is best to avoid it.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For infectious diarrhea: 10-20 grams of colostrum daily for 10 days.