Colostrum Vs Probiotics
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.
We often compare colostrum vs probiotics especially when it comes to natural ways to improve gut health and immune response. Although each has its own way of working in the human body, there is a noticeable synergy in their functions and benefits. Keep reading to learn more about the functions and benefits of colostrum and probiotics.
In this article, we’ll be comparing colostrum vs probiotics mainly in terms of their functions and benefits. But before we get into the effects of taking colostrum and probiotics, it’s important to learn the basics of these popular foods a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is colostrum?
- What are probiotics?
- Colostrum vs probiotics: functions
- Colostrum vs probiotics: benefits
- Can colostrum and probiotics be used together?
- Final words
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the precious milky fluid fondly called “the first milk or pre-milk” that lactating mammalian mothers, including humans, produce immediately following childbirth. It is a rich source of essential nutrients such as immune factors, protective proteins, prebiotics, and growth factors, all of which are vital for seeding healthy microbiomes in the gut, jumpstarting digestive functions, and developing a mature immune system.
Though colostrum is produced to give newborns the best possible start in life, humans or other animals can get the benefits at any stage of life, typically by consuming it as a dietary supplement. In general, the colostrum content used in supplements is obtained from cows, which is known as bovine colostrum and is widely used to prevent and treat a range of health conditions including digestive issues and infections.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts that are good for the human body and naturally live within the body, especially in the gut. The human body is full of microorganisms, including both helpful and harmful ones.
While excess bad bacteria can disrupt the immune system and cause diseases like infections, probiotics or good bacteria can help restore the balance by eliminating bad bacteria while protecting against diseases.
There is a common misconception that we should use probiotics only when we have digestive issues such as ingestion, bloating, and gas. But they can be used in many other conditions as the gut is the largest immune organ in the body and affects nearly each and every bodily function. We can get significant amounts of probiotics by consuming fermented foods or probiotic supplements.
Colostrum vs probiotics: functions
Colostrum is a complex biological liquid that provides optimal support to healthy growth and protection to newborns. It has distinct compositions and characteristics with a range of bioactive components that have the potential to deliver health benefits throughout every stage of life.
Colostrum provides around 90 vital biologically active compounds and each has specific functions in the body, which is why it’s essentially not possible to mention all of their functions here. However, we'll of course cover some of the most common ones.
Though colostrum is densely packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, most of the health benefits clinicians often associate with colostrum seem to come from specific protein components, which include, but aren’t limited to:
Immunoglobulin antibodies - colostrum is rich in various types of antibodies such as IgG, IgA, and IgM, all of which play an essential role in strengthening immune health. They prevent pathogens from binding to the body cells, stimulate T and B cell responses, support macrophages to attack and ruin pathogens, and finally strengthen the immune barrier in the gut lumen and prevent bacteria, toxins, and other inflammatory agents from entering the blood and lymphatic channels where they can induce inflammation and wreck havoc the entire body.
Growth factors - these are protein-based hormones that help stimulate growth and development. Bovine colostrum is particularly high in two types of growth factors called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) and IGF-2 (insulin-like growth factor 2).
Lactoferrin - lactoferrin helps hinder iron from harmful bacteria and makes it available for the gut so that it can be absorbed into the body. It also helps protect from infections induced by viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are healthy bacteria that act as good actors and oppose the activities of bad actors such as harmful bacteria and pathogens. Probiotics play a major role in keeping a healthy balance in the gut microbiome, which is vital for producing favorable metabolites, resulting in more efficient digestive health as well as immune response.
The benefits of probiotics are not only limited to the gut and immune functions but also are extended to oral, vaginal, and even mental health.
Colostrum vs probiotics: benefits
Potential health benefits of colostrum
- Promotes gut health and a healthy digestive system
- Improves immune health
- Reduces inflammation due to potent anti-inflammatory actions
- Supports muscle and ligament healing
- Supports a healthy cardiovascular function
- Helps treat digestive issues such as diarrhea and leaky gut
- Helps treat infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi
- Helps increase exercise performance
Potential health benefits of probiotics
- Probiotics promote a healthy balance in the gut microbiome
- Boost immune functions
- Improve mental and emotional health
- Improve heart health
- Reduce symptoms of digestive disorders such as diarrhea, IBS, IBD, and more
- Improve oral health
- Aid in weight loss
- Improve urinary and vaginal health
- Prevent colds and allergies
- Help prevent and treat skin conditions such as eczema
- Reduce risks of antibiotic resistance
- Support nutrition absorption
Can colostrum and probiotics be used together?
While colostrum is highly beneficial for promoting a healthy gut and immune system on its own, when used along with probiotics, it becomes even more efficient for promoting overall health and preventing or treating a range of varying diseases.
Both colostrum and probiotics work very well synergically and there is no true contradiction between colostrum vs probiotics. Both can be used to improve gut and immune health as well as all bodily functions. Consider working with a natural medicine practitioner to help you determine whether you should use either one of them singly or together at the same time.
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