BOVINE 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:
- Upper airway infection in people who exercise. Research shows that taking bovine colostrum by mouth for 8-12 weeks can reduce of the number of episodes and symptoms of upper airway infections in people who exercise.
- Infectious diarrhea. Taking bovine colostrum seems to prevent infectious diarrhea from developing in adults. It also seems to treat infectious diarrhea that has already developed in children. But it doesn't appear to further reduce infectious diarrhea in children who are also taking an antibiotic. Most research has used hyperimmune bovine colostrum.
- Diarrhea in people with HIV. Taking bovine colostrum helps reduce diarrhea in people with HIV. Most research has used hyperimmune bovine colostrum.
- The flu (influenza). Taking a specific type of bovine colostrum (Ad Colostrum, Corcon srl) by mouth for 8 weeks helps prevent the flu, including in people that have already been vaccinated against the flu and in people with heart disease who have a higher risk of getting the flu.
- Rotaviral diarrhea. Taking bovine colostrum seems to reduce diarrhea in children with diarrhea due to rotavirus. Most research has used hyperimmune bovine colostrum.
- Muscle loss in the elderly. Some research shows that taking a specific bovine colostrum product (Eterna Gold, Saskatoon Colostrum Co. Ltd.) improves leg strength but not upper body strength or body composition in older adults doing some weight training.
- Athletic performance. Early research suggests that bovine colostrum might increase athletic performance for some athletic activities. Activities that seem to benefit are cycling and sprinting activities that are done following a previous exercise session.
- Memory (cognitive function). Early research shows that taking bovine colostrum does not improve memory in older adults also taking part in an exercise program.
- Diabetes. Early research shows taking bovine colostrum might help to reduce levels of blood sugar following a meal, as well as cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation of the colon (colitis). There is some early evidence that a rectal enema containing 10% bovine colostrum might be helpful for treating colitis.
- Reduced health in young children (failure to thrive). In young children that are not growing well, early research suggests taking bovine colostrum by mouth improves weight but not height.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV). Early research shows that applying bovine colostrum to the vagina for 6 months helps cure cervical lesions in people with HPV.
- Diarrhea related to an immune disease called hypogammaglobulinemia. One report shows that taking bovine colostrum helps treat infectious diarrhea in a child with hypogammaglobulinemia.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Taking hyperimmune bovine colostrum might help treat symptoms of MS, but conflicting results exist.
- Upper airway infection. Research shows that taking bovine colostrum protein reduces helps prevent upper airway infections. However, it doesn't appear to reduce the duration of upper airway infections if they do occur.
- Bacterial and fungal infections.
- Building lean muscle.
- Burning fat.
- Dry eyes.
- Elevating mood and sense of well-being.
- Healing injuries.
- Increasing stamina and vitality.
- Inflammation in the mouth.
- Repairing nervous system damage.
- Stimulating the immune system.
- Slowing and reversing aging.
- Other conditions.
BOVINE 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.
BOVINE COLOSTRUM Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For preventing upper airway infections in people who exercise: 10-20 grams of bovine colostrum daily for 8-12 weeks has been used.
- For HIV-related diarrhea: 10-30 grams of bovine colostrum powder has been taken 1-4 times daily for 10-21 days.
- For the flu (influenza): 400 mg of a defatted freeze-dried bovine colostrum daily for 8 weeks has been used.
- For infectious diarrhea: 7 grams of bovine colostrum 3 times daily for 14 days has been used.
- For rotaviral diarrhea: 10 grams of bovine colostrum daily for 4 days, or 20-300 mL daily for up to 2 weeks, has been used.