Spectrum of colostrum colours in dairy cows compared with mature milk (right).
Bovine colostrum is a product unlike any other. To better understand colostrum, let's examine some of the key questions surrounding this product.
What is Colostrum?
Bovine colostrum, aka "life's first food" is a milky fluid produced by mammalian mothers in the first few days after birth.
Bovine colostrum appears before a mammalian mother's true milk. It supports healthy growth and development in new-borns. Bovine colostrum also supports a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract and has been shown to help heal leaky gut, a primary cause of autoimmune disease.
What is in bovine colostrum?
Bovine colostrum contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Bovine colostrum is nutritious, and it contains a rich combination of powerful components. It has higher volumes of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins A, C, and E in comparison to cow's milk. It also contains lactoferrin and growth factors; the lactoferrin in bovine colostrum support the body's immune response, and colostrum's growth factors stimulate growth.
Where does colostrum come from?
Bovine colostrum comes from mammalian mothers.
Mammalian mothers produce bovine colostrum late in pregnancy and immediately following birth. Then, mammalian mothers' colostrum production tapers off within about 72 hours of birth. At this point, true milk emerges.
What does colostrum look like?
Bovine colostrum is usually yellow or orange and tends to be thick.
Bovine colostrum gets its colour from its high levels of beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment commonly found in plants and fruits. At the same time, bovine colostrum generally appears clear. Bovine colostrum also tends to be thicker than breast milk.
History of Colostrum?
Colostrum dates back to ancient times, when it was used for both nourishment and remedial purposes. In "The Book of Sirach," which was written between 300 BC and 275 BC, references are made to colostrum as the "first milk" produced by female animals who had given birth. Colostrum is listed with wheat, honey, salt, water, fire, and iron as "necessities of life."
The Hebrews referred to colostrum as "new milk" produced by animal and human mothers. They used the term "halab" in the Old Testament, which referred to colostrum as "nature's perfect food."
In ancient times, colostrum was primarily derived from goats and cattle. It was commonly stored in leather skins as well.
The story of Cain and Abel includes a reference to colostrum, too. In the story, Josephus mentions Abel presented new milk, i.e. colostrum, as a sacrifice to God.
Josephus seemingly attributed the longevity of people in the Antediluvian Era (Pre-Flood Era) to colostrum. Since colostrum was recognized for its renewal properties, it was believed to have played a key role in the survival and success of the antediluvians.
Over the years, colostrum's growth hormones and other compounds have had far-flung effects on individuals across the globe. In 1979, interviews were conducted with people in the Soviet Union have had verifiable ages between 110 and 126 years old. These individuals consumed black rye bread, dark raw honey, green onions, and garlic cloves regularly. They also consumed colostrum as part of their diets. The results: long lives in which they rarely – if ever – experienced heartburn, diarrhoea, indigestion, and constipation.
How Does Bovine Colostrum Work?
How long does it take for bovine colostrum to work?
Oftentimes, colostrum works best when it is consumed on an empty stomach. It can be consumed in either powder or pill form, and it generally delivers the optimal results when consumed with 6- to 8-oz. of water. Regardless of how colostrum is consumed, it should be taken approximately 20 minutes before a person eats to achieve the best-possible results. Meanwhile, people sometimes notice the benefits of colostrum within about four to six weeks of initial use. If individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle, they may be better equipped than ever before to maximize the benefits of colostrum, too.
What are the mechanisms of colostrum?
Colostrum contains immune and growth factors and other components that support the immune function.
Colostrum includes insulin-like growth factors (IGF), transforming growth factors, immunoglobulins, cytokines, lactoferrin, and lysozyme. It also contains a variety of hormones, such as growth hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, and glucocorticoids. Studies indicate these growth factors and hormones help the immune function, as well as support gastrointestinal integrity and the neuroendocrine system.
How does colostrum affect intestinal absorption?
Colostrum contains immunoglobulins that support intestinal growth and development in new-borns.
Research shows the immunoglobulins in colostrum support intestinal growth and development in newborns. In one study of immunoglobulin A (IgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin M (IgM) in cord blood, infants who did not receive colostrum experienced reduced levels of IgG on day five after birth in comparison to infants who received colostrum. The study also indicated colostrum-fed infants had a higher concentration of IgG than infants who did not receive colostrum.
What are the effects on villi?
Studies indicate colostrum may increase villi length and width, along with crypt depth.
Villi refer to thread-like projections from the surface area of the small intestine, and they facilitate the passage of fluid or nutrients to the small intestine. In one study, researchers found calves fed colostrum had the greatest villus length and width. Researchers also discovered that these calves had villi with the greatest crypt depth.
What are the Benefits of Colostrum?
The health benefits of colostrum include:
1. Immune System Modulation
Some research shows colostrum's antibody levels are 100 times higher than those found in regular cow's milk. As such, colostrum helps modulate the immune system and protect the GI tract. Colostrum also contains immunoglobulins that stay in the GI tract to further support the immune function.
2. Gut Healing
A healthy gut supports an individual's overall health and well-being, yet certain foods, stress, and environmental factors may harm the gut. Colostrum helps increase the surface area of the gut's intestinal lining to combat leaky gut, a condition that creates holes or openings in the gut lining. When leaky gut occurs, food and other harmful toxins can penetrate the gut lining, resulting in inflammation that causes various digestive health issues. Colostrum helps restore the gut to normal permeability levels. It contains growth factors and hormones to help the gut maintain tight-junction integrity. Colostrum also contains immunoglobulins that support the gut's microbiome. Colostrum may even promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut, too.
3. Skin Health Support
Colostrum is a natural source of telomerase, an enzyme that may slow down the aging of DNA. Telomerase is found in DNA strands, and it enables undamaged skin cells to replicate themselves. Colostrum also contains epithelial/epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), both of which have been shown to support cell regeneration. The lactoferrin in colostrum helps the body manage its response to skin cells as well.
Why is colostrum important?
Colostrum is the first food of life, but individuals of all ages can continue to consume it after birth.
Bovine colostrum is available as a supplement intended for men, women, children, and even pets. It can be consumed as either a powder or pill and incorporated into an individual's everyday diet. Plus, colostrum contains powerful components shown to help individuals guard against leaky gut.
Where to buy bovine colostrum
Intabiotech SLU is a leading provider of bovine colostrum products from ND Pharma & Biotech Company. We currently offer colostrum BC30% that: