Bovine colostrum is the first milk produced by cows
during the initial days after giving birth. I have listed a lot of research abstracts
regarding its role in human health and disease. I have
not had a chance to review these studies and come to a good understanding
of the role of bovine colostrum supplements in natural medicine. However,
a quick look indicates that it likely has a role to play in human health
and using this supplement may increase energy levels. Bovine colostrum
supplements have been found to carry a number of health benefits,
including lower risks of upper respiratory illnesses and diarrhea in
immune-suppressed children, and a reduced risk of intestinal damage from
What is it and what is it used for?
Colostrum is the early milk produced for a few days after delivery. In cows, it's called bovine colostrum. This milk is apparently rich in immunoglobulins which are certain types of protein involved in promoting the immune system and fighting germs. There are other types of compounds in it such as growth factors, nucleosides, etc., that are not found in regular milk.
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Bovine colostrum is richer in certain factors than milk. Bovine colostrum has much higher amounts of immunoglobulins, growth factors, cytokines, and nucleosides than are found in milk. Bovine colostrum is has oligosaccharides, antimicrobials, and immune-regulating factors. Some of the studies have looked into the role of bovine colostrum in:
Immune system support
Gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, particularlyin persons with immune-deficiency syndromes or those who have been on heavy antibiotic regimens.
Bovine Colostrum for athletes
Athletes may get a boost from supplements containing bovine colostrum. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that bovine colostrum seemed to help male cyclists retain more energy during a bout of intense training. Normally, when athletes train intensely without adequate rest, their performance level starts to dwindle and they show signs of fatigue such as reduced testosterone levels, changes in nervous system activity and mood disturbances. In the study, Cecelia Shing and her colleagues followed 29 male distance cyclists. After taking baseline measurements of the men's performance on a 40-kilometer time trial, the researchers randomly assigned them to drink either a supplement containing 10 grams of bovine colostrum protein or a whey protein supplement every day for eight weeks. During week eight, the men underwent five consecutive days of high-intensity training; their performance was tested before and after the training bout. There were no clear differences between the two groups during normal training. However, volunteers who used bovine colostrum did perform at a higher level, with fewer signs of fatigue, during tests taken after the five-day run of intense training.
The influence of bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in highly trained cyclists.
Br J Sports Med. 2006.
The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the influence of low dose bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in cyclists over a 10 week period that included 5 days of high intensity training. Over 7 days of preliminary testing, 29 highly trained male road cyclists completed several tests. Cyclists were then assigned to either a supplement 10 g/day bovine colostrum protein concentrate or a placebo group 10 g/day whey protein and resumed their normal training. Low dose bovine colostrum supplementation led to improvements in 40 km time trial performance during a high intensity training period and maintained ventilatory threshold following five consecutive days of high intensity training.
Effect of bovine colostrum on anaerobic exercise
performance and plasma insulin-like growth factor I.
J Sports Sci. 2003.
We examined the effects of bovine colostrum on peak vertical jump power (VJpeak), peak cycle power (CPpeak), alactic anaerobic work capacity, resistance exercise one-repetition maxima (1-RM) and plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations. 51 males completed 8 weeks of resistance and plyometric training while consuming 60 g x day of bovine colostrum or concentrated whey protein powder. We conclude that bovine colostrum supplementation during training significantly increased peak anaerobic power, but had no effect on alactic anaerobic work capacity, 1-RM or plasma IGF-I.
The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on
exercise performance in elite field hockey players.
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002.
We investigated the effect of 8 weeks of supplementation with bovine colostrum (Intact) on body composition and exercise performance (5 x 10-m sprint, vertical jump, shuttle-run test, and suicide test). Seventeen female and 18 male elite field hockey players, including players from the Dutch national team, received either 60 g of colostrum or whey protein daily. The 5 x 10-m sprint test performance improved significantly more in the colostrum group compared to the whey group. In elite field hockey players, colostrum supplementation improves sprint performance better than whey. However, there were no differences with regard to body composition or endurance performance.
Common cold and upper respiratory
Concentrated bovine colostrum protein supplementation reduces the incidence of self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in adult males.
Eur J Nutr. 2003.
Anecdotal reports suggest that bovine colostrum may prevent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). There is scant evidence to support such claims, although salivary IgA protects against URTI, and it was recently shown that bovine colostrum increases salivary IgA. The present investigation examined whether concentrated bovine colostrum protein affected the incidence or duration of self-reported symptoms of URTI in adult males. We examined logbooks containing self-reported symptoms of illness from previous studies which examined physiological effects of bovine colostrum. In these double-blind, placebo controlled studies, subjects had been randomly allocated to consume 60 grams a day of bovine colostrum or whey protein for eight weeks. This study provides preliminary evidence that concentrated bovine colostrum protein may enhance resistance to the development of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.
A preparation from bovine colostrum in the treatment of HIV-positive patients with chronic diarrhea.
Clin Investig. 1993.
In a prospective, open, uncontrolled study 25 patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus with chronic refractory diarrhea and either confirmed cryptosporidiosis or absence of demonstrable pathogenic organisms were treated with a daily oral dose of 10 g of an immunoglobulin preparation from bovine colostrum over a period of 10 days. Among the 7 patients with cryptosporidiosis, this treatment led to complete remission in 3 and partial remission in 2. Among the 18 patients with diarrhea and negative stool culture, complete remission of diarrhea was obtained in 7 and partial remission in 4. In the remaining 2 patients with cryptosporidiosis and the 7 patients with diarrhea but no demonstrable pathogens treatment produced no significant improvement of the diarrhea. Subsequent doubling of the Lactobin dose (2 x 10 g daily) in 8 of the nonresponders led to complete remission in one case and at least partial remission in a further 4 patients. Treatment of refractory diarrhea with 10 g immunoglobulins from bovine colostrum per day constitutes an important therapeutic approach and led to complete or partial remission of diarrhea in most of the patients.
Bovine colostrum side effects,
safety, long term use
No significant bovine colostrum side effects have yet been reported in the medical literature. Since it is rich in calories, one would guess that drinking excess amounts could add on some pounds. But most people are not likely to drink more than an ounce or two a day.
Do you have any information on the long term safety of
I have not seen any. It is a good idea to take breaks from use. Since there are quite a number of different products on the market, there may be differences in their content which makes it more difficult to predict the effects of long term use.
Bovine Colostrum Research
Use of the 'nutriceutical', bovine colostrum, for the treatment of distal colitis: results from an initial study.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002.
To examine the efficacy of colostrum enemas in the treatment of distal colitis using a randomized, double-blind, controlled protocol. Fourteen patients (eight female), with a mean age of 45 years (range, 16-75 years) and mild to moderately severe distal colitis (Powell-Tuck scoring system), received colostrum enema (100 mL of 10% solution) or placebo (albumin solution) b.d. for 4 weeks. Both groups also received mesalazine (1.6 g/day) or, if already taking it, had a dose increment of 1.6 g/day. Disease activity was documented at 0, 2 and 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, the colostrum group showed a mean reduction in symptom score. The histological score improved in five of the eight patients in the colostrum group, whereas the histological scores only improved in two of the six patients in the placebo group. Bovine colostrum enema shows potential as a novel therapy for left-sided colitis with additional benefits over using mesalazine alone. Further studies appear to be warranted.
Bovine colostrum supplementation during endurance
running training improves recovery, but not performance.
J Sci Med Sport. 2002.
This study examined the effect of supplementation with concentrated bovine colostrum protein powder (intact) on plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations, endurance running performance and recovery. Thirty physically active males completed 8 weeks of running training whilst consuming 60 g x day(-1) of intact powder or a concentrated whey protein powder placebo in a randomised, double-blind, parallel design. We conclude that supplementation with intact bovine colostrum powder did not increase plasma IGF-I concentrations or improve performance during an initial bout of incremental running to exhaustion in our sample. However, performance during a second bout of exercise may be improved by as much as 5.2% in the average subject after 8 weeks of supplementation, possibly due to an enhancement of recovery.
Dose effects of oral bovine colostrum on physical
work capacity in cyclists.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002.
There is interest in the potential long-term use of dietary supplementation with bovine colostrum to enhance exercise performance. The purpose of the present study was to determine the dose effects of bovine colostrum on cycling performance. Forty-two competitive cyclists were randomly divided into three groups and required to consume either 20 g/d bovine colostrum + 40 g whey protein concentrate (wpc), 60 g of bovine colostrum, or 60 g of wpc (placebo). Oral bovine colostrum supplementation at 20 g or 60 g/d provided a small but significant improvement in time trial performance in cyclists after a 2-h ride at 65% VO2max.
Modulation of human humoral immune response
through orally administered bovine colostrum.
FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2001.
Eighteen healthy volunteers were randomized into two treatment groups and consumed liquid prepackaged bovine colostrum whey and placebo for 7 days. On days 1, 3 and 5, an attenuated Salmonella typhi Ty21a oral vaccine was given to all subjects to mimic an enteropathogenic infection. The circulating antibody secreting cells and the expression of phagocytosis receptors of the subjects before and after oral immunization were measured with the ELISPOT assay and flow cytometry. All subjects responded well to the vaccine. No significant differences were observed in ELISPOT values for IgA, IgG, IgM, Fcgamma and CR receptor expression on neutrophils and monocytes between the two groups. There was a trend towards greater increase in specific IgA among the subjects receiving their vaccine with bovine colostrum. These results suggest that bovine colostrum may possess some potential to enhance human special immune responses.
Co-administration of the health food supplement,
bovine colostrum, reduces the acute non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability.
Clin Sci. 2001.
We therefore examined whether spray-dried, defatted colostrum could reduce the rise in gut permeability (a non-invasive marker of intestinal injury) caused by NSAIDs in volunteers and patients taking NSAIDs for clinical reasons. Healthy male volunteers (n=7) participated in a randomized crossover trial comparing changes in gut permeability (lactulose/rhamnose ratios) before and after 5 days of 50 mg of indomethacin three times daily (tds) per oral with colostrum (125 ml, tds) or whey protein (control) co-administration. A second study examined the effect of colostral and control solutions (125 ml, tds for 7 days) on gut permeability in patients (n=15) taking a substantial, regular dose of an NSAID for clinical reasons. For both studies, there was a 2 week washout period between treatment arms. In volunteers, indomethacin caused a 3-fold increase in gut permeability in the control arm (lactulose/rhamnose ratio 0.36+/-0.07 prior to indomethacin and 1.17+/-0.25 on day 5, P<0.01), whereas no significant increase in permeability was seen when colostrum was co-administered. In patients taking long-term NSAID treatment, initial permeability ratios were low (0.13+/-0.02), despite continuing on the drug, and permeability was not influenced by co-administration of test solutions. These studies provide preliminary evidence that bovine colostrum, which is already currently available as an over-the-counter preparation, may provide a novel approach to the prevention of NSAID-induced gastrointestinal damage in humans.
The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation
on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women.
Subjects were randomly assigned to a placebo (whey protein) and colostrum group (20 g/d in powder form). Each subject participated in aerobic and heavy-resistance training at least three times per wk. Body composition was assessed via dual x-ray absorptiometry analysis. Treadmill time to exhaustion, one repetition maximum strength (bench press), and the total number of repetitions performed during one set to exhaustion at a submaximal load for the bench press (50% and 100% of body weight for women and men, respectively) were ascertained. The whey protein group experienced a significant increase in body weight (mean increase of 2.11 kg), whereas the colostrum group experienced a significant increase in bone-free lean body mass (mean increase of 1.49 kg). There were no changes in any of the other parameters measured. Thus, supplementation with bovine colostrum (20 g/d) in combination with exercise training for 8 wk may increase bone-free lean body mass in active men and women.
Colostrum for Athletes
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that bovine colostrum helped male cyclists have more energy during a bout of intense training. Cecelia Shing of the University of Queensland in Australia followed 29 male distance cyclists. The researchers first took baseline measurements of the men's performance on a 40-kilometer time trial. They then randomly assigned the cyclists to drink either a supplement containing 10 grams of bovine colostrum protein or a whey protein supplement every day for eight weeks. During week eight, the men underwent five consecutive days of high-intensity training. There were no clear differences between the two groups during normal training. However, volunteers who used bovine colostrum performed at a higher level, with fewer signs of fatigue, during tests taken after the five-day run of intense training. There are certain foods that I would consider superfoods in that they have a high concentration of beneficial substances useful for wellbeing and overall health. I believe colostrum falls into this category. You can find bovine colostrum in the dairy section of a health food store, and it is also available as a supplement in capsules.
Just had a question about the colostrum supplement. I have a friend who had acne pretty bad and swears up and down that after using this product for a month or two her acne has cleared up 100% Is it known for making skin nicer?
We have not heard this before regarding colostrum and acne.
Could you please tell me is colostrum is
suitable for people with a lactose intolerance? I have Crohn's disease and
have been taking colostrum for a couple of weeks and I have noticed
increased bloating and cramps but because of my Crohn's I cant tell if
this is caused from the colostrum or just my Crohn's playing up again. I
am Lactose intolerant however and was wondering if the colostrum could
have set off a lactose intolerance reaction.
There is very little lactose in colostrum, so it depends on the degree of your lactose intolerance and the amount of colostrum ingested. It also could depend on the product itself. Some brands may have a little more lactose than other brands depending on how many hours after calving the colostrum is harvested.
Would it be safe and/or effective to use
either liquid or powdered colostrum for nasal irrigation to prevent
respiratory infections in a person with IGA deficiency? I know that the
colostrum capsules are helping my gut.
I am not familiar with the use of colostrum for intranasal administration and doubt it would be effective but I can't say for certain since I have not seen any research on this form of colostrum use.
I would like to take Colostrum is it safe for the whole
family, children included? I cannot swallow capsules, is there any other form
that the colostrum comes in, I have heard that it can be taken sublingually? Or
can I open the capsule and drink the powder?
We cannot advise who should take this product since each person is different in their need and body chemistry and diet and immune function. This product comes in capsules and the capsule can be opened and the powder inside can be mixed with juice or water or milk.
Can colostrum increase testosterone levels?
I have not seen any human studies that have evaluated the influence of this substance on levels of testosterone.
Suppliers and manufacturers,
email received in 2010
Colostrum Technologies GmbH is a supplier of liquid colostrum from patented cold-state-production. Well-known manufacturers from the fields of pharmacy, cosmetics, baby food, and dietary supplements are among our customers. Our company is located in the south of Germany, 40 miles west of Munich in the heart of Bavaria, close to the Alps. By developing a special, patented cold-state-manufacturing procedure for processing raw colostrum further in a loss-free and gentle way, Colostrum Technologies laid a mile stone in 1994. It would be a pleasure for us if your company will be among our new business partners. Colostrum Technologies GmbH Daniel Friedl Sales Manager Richthofenstrasse 21 1/2 86343 Königsbrunn