Colostrum for Gut Health
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Colostrum supplements have long been used as infallible superfoods that help promote gut health, boost immunity, prevent osteoporosis and alleviate inflammation.
Bovine colostrum has been regarded as the ideal supplement for human immunity and gut health and plays a significant role in the ayurvedic system of medicine. Its nutritional contents are higher than those of human colostrum and have been widely used as dietary supplements in the Western medical community for the last few years.
This article details colostrum benefits for gut health and potential risks associated with bovine colostrum consumption.
What is Colostrum?
Prior to the secretion of breast milk, humans, cows, and other animals create a breast fluid called Colostrum. It is extremely nutrient-dense and rich in antibodies, which are proteins that fend off germs and diseases.
Colostrum aids in the growth and health of newborns humans and animals, but research reveals that consuming supplements of bovine colostrum may boost immunity, aid in the fight against infections, and enhance gut health over the course of a person's lifetime.
Since newborns require colostrum the most to develop their immune and intestinal health, it was long believed that only infants might benefit from consuming it. Colostrum pills have been recommended for adults throughout the years to strengthen their immune systems and cure their digestive tracts, and demand for them is rising.
Like human colostrum, bovine colostrum is abundant in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, hormones, and digestive enzymes.
Cow colostrum is pasteurized, dried, and made into tablets or powders that may be combined with liquids for these supplements. Bovine colostrum often has a pale-yellow hue and a mild flavor and aroma reminiscent of buttermilk.
Is Colostrum Good for Gut Health?
Research revealed that colostrum has the potential to improve digestive problems like gas, bloating, constipation, and fatigue. It may also help balance intestinal permeability and reduce the symptoms of the leaky gut syndrome.
How Does it Work?
Colostrum supplements are rich in macronutrients and micronutrients like proteins, antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Lactoferrin is a protein present in colostrum that helps fight infections caused by bacteria and viruses. In this way, they help prevent gut infections and promote digestive health.
Growth hormones like insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 also play an essential role in improving gut health. In addition, antibodies and digestive enzymes are abundant in cow colostrum and have the capability to combat bacteria and viruses.
Can Balance Intestinal Permeability
The growth factors present in bovine colostrum are essential for reducing intestinal permeability. They promote the growth and development of digestive system of infants, like growth and development of the gut in adults. They fortify the lining and enhance the integrity of the gut by promoting cell development. Additionally, gangliosides, another substance that promotes good gut integrity, are found in colostrum.
Feed Gut Microflora
Colostrum is also a rich source of oligosaccharides which are undigestible carbohydrates that pass through the GIT and provide food to gut microflora. Bovine colostrum possesses more than 60 distinct oligosaccharides that are fermented in the stomach by gut bacteria. These oligosaccharides benefit good bacteria in the gut and promote human digestive health.
Improve Intestinal Immunity
Colostrum supplements when used with probiotics offer surprising benefits to gut health.
First, the intestinal environment can be controlled by immunoglobulins (IgG) from cow colostrum to promote improved probiotic colonization. For instance, bovine IgG can affect intestinal epithelial cells, increase the adherence of good bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli to the gut's epithelial cells, and restrict the adhesion of pathogenic bacteria.
Second, according to an additional study, bovine colostrum and live probiotic microorganisms can work in synergism. Bovine colostrum contains antibacterial properties, however adding it to yogurts does not destroy the living cultures.
Prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is an inflammatory condition characterized by small holes in the gut lining which allow the entrance of toxins, undigested food, and gut bacteria into the bloodstream. Immunoglobulins and natural antibodies in colostrum supplements have been shown to improve gut permeability. They act as prebiotics and prevent harmful bacteria in the gut and promote the reproduction of beneficial bacteria.
Combat Bacterial Infections
When there are H. pylori infections, fats bind to the stomach lining and erode the gut lining. This adhesion activity on the GI tract's lipid-binding sites is inhibited by colostrum. Consumption of colostrum with other medications help get rid of bacteria colonization and prevent bacterial infections.
May Help Treat Diarrhea
Colostrum is a rich source of antibodies and proteins that provide protection against various strains of bacteria and prevent infections. In a study, the consumption of 100g of bovine colostrum with some anti-diarrheal medicines resulted in reduced stool frequency. This reduction was 21% more in these patients compared to those who consumed traditional medications.
In addition to treating diarrhea, colostrum supplements also help treat inflammatory conditions of the colon such as colitis. According to a study, taking bovine colostrum enemas with regular medications resulted in a significant reduction compared to those taking only regular medications.
Reduce NSAIDs-Induced GIT Injury
Excessive use of pain killer like NSAIDs damages the gastric lining and erode the surface resulting in gastrointestinal injury. Bovine colostrum supplements help reduce the damage by 60% caused by NSAIDs. Moreover, these supplements also have the potential to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
Due to limited human research, bovine colostrum is usually considered safe to use, however, it may have some downsides.
The suggested dosage of bovine colostrum is 1.5g per day and these supplements seem to be expensive. People who are sensitive to milk or milk products should avoid bovine colostrum supplements as they may cause some allergic reactions.
There is no research revealing the safety of bovine supplements in pregnant and lactating women and to be on the safe side they should be avoided.
Bovine colostrum is a supplement obtained from milky fluid released from cows’ breasts after they have given birth. These supplements are excellent sources of healthy nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, hormones, and enzymes. They help improve gut health, relieve digestive problems, and enhance immunity.
Here you can check out Vorst’s Colostrum Chewable tablets.