What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the milky liquid produced by the mammals like humans, cows, elephants and dolphins etc during the first few days of postpartum. It is said that the colostrum contains high nutrient content and also contains high content of antibodies which may help them to fight against various bacteria or infections. It is also believed that colostrum is the nectar fed to their infants in order to keep them active and healthy.
The colostrum is produced in the initial days of the baby’s birth i.e, just before the production of breast milk begins in the mother. It is clear and quite yellow in shade when compared to the breast milk. It is also thick in consistency and low on fat and carbohydrates. Colostrum produced by mammals are considered as “liquid gold” due to its immense benefits and uses.
Though all mammals produce colostrum, supplements are made from the colostrum of cows. It can also be consumed during other phases of life in the form of supplements. The colostrum produced in cows are called Bovine colostrum. But, the nutrient content of colostrum is slightly higher in humans than that of cows.
In India, Cow is considered to be a sacred or you can just tell a god you can see. May be the benefits of cows is so endless that the cow is considered to be a symbol of purity and sacrifice. From its milk to its dung, everything has its own benefits and uses. In olden days, cows were treated as the members of their family. Even now there are farmers who take care of their cows like their own children. Happy cows = healthy milk. The cow that grazes freely in the farm, drinks clean water and listens to relaxing sounds everyday tend to give healthy milk. Thus, when these happy cows gives birth to their young ones there is increase in the level of nutrition in the colostrum it produces.
Let’s know more about Bovine colostrum or cow colostrum as supplement…
The Bovine colostrum has become popular in the recent times. There are people who consume these supplements on a regular basis in order to improve the functioning of the body organs. The Bovine colostrum is also rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, growth hormones and digestive enzymes. The colostrum is converted into powder form or it is dried into pills which is further mixed in liquids.
The colostrum is rich in macronutrients, vitamins like Vitamin A,C and E, proteins and minerals etc. As it may benefit the human immune system, treat infections through bacteria, virus and fungi etc it is referred to as a superfood or a super supplement to be taken throughout the life. The nutritional values for 100 ml of cow colostrum are –
|Nutritional factor||Bovine colostrum|
|Epidermal growth factor (EGF)||30-50 mcg/L|
|Transforming growth factor (TGF)||2.2-7.2 mcg/L|
|Insulin like growth factor||10 mg/L|
|Growth hormone||<0.03 ng/L|
Bovine Colostrum powder benefits for adults
In the field of Ayurveda cow Colostrum powder is used by adults as a medicine. There are quite a few colostrum milk powder benefits as a supplement for elders in order to maintain a good functioning of the body.
1. May reduce inflammation
A specific compound which is contained in colostrum is the lactoferrin. Lactoferrin, is a protein which is critical in the metabolism of iron. There are receptors found in the organs and cells of the body for the lactoferrin to bind. The lactoferrin is shown to inhibit the autoimmune responses which triggers the inflammatory conditions like increased intestinal permeability. The toxic load on the lymphatic system is decreased as it boosts the immune stimulating responses. An effective detoxifying agent, lactoferrin contained in colostrum prevents the invasive agents. Thus, it decreases the duration of cold. It also helps to activate the T-cells, enzyme activation and response of antigens.
2. May enhances immunity
As mentioned above that the immune balancing T-cells are boosted against the pathogens by the lactoferrin. It also increases the natural WBC (white blood cells). A mice was given with oral lactoferrin which had suppressed immune system due to lab-induced autoimmune conditions and chemotherapy. And the researchers found that their immune system was strengthened and also the state of autoimmune enhanced as well.
Added to it, lactoferrin is a superfood or a super supplement as it is a natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent. It also has the ability to prevent the pathogenic growth by binding the bacterial or viral cells to prevent the entry of these pathogens into the body’s cells.
3. May Support healthy gut
Bovine colostrum powder benefits by strengthening your gut and fights against infections in your digestive tract. Both animal and human studies have shown that cow colostrum powder may stimulate the growth of the intestinal cells, strengthen the gut wall, and also prevent intestinal permeability.
12 athletes who were receptive to intestinal permeability because of heavy exercise. They were found taking 20 gms of bovine colostrum powder which prevented 80% increase in the intestinal permeability that was experienced by those who took placebo, in a study. However, more extensive research in humans is needed.
4. May promote muscle and ligament healing
The bovine colostrum powder is said to be a powerhouse for promoting muscle healing and growth. Researchers have shown that the addition of cow colostrum can reduce the oxidative stress which results to increased lean muscle mass within eight weeks.
5. May prevent cancer
Lactoferrin also helps to prevent the shrink cells. The colostrum milk powder prevents colon, tongue, bladder, lung cancer. It contains milk fats which have anti carcinogenic properties. The CLA (Conjugated linolenic acid) in colostrum milk powder also has anti carcinogenic properties as well. It increases the levels of immunoglobulins as well.
6. Athletic health
Bovine colostrum is a natural superfood which contains growth factors that is nearly 100% bioidentical when compared to that of the human colostrum. It has a larger quantity of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which is a growth hormone that promotes muscle growth and also favours the adipose storage over glucose as a fuel source. IGF-1 is a produced by the liver which is stimulated by the production of growth hormone (GH). It is capable of promoting the muscle growth naturally. Thus, athletes can increase their IGF-1 levels for long term by the consumption of cow colostrum. The colostrum milk powder also helps them to reduce oxidant-induced damage that benefits the skeletal muscle tissue at times.
7. May improve skin health
Bovine colostrum powder benefits as it aids tissue repair in the skin due to its growth factors. As it helps to detoxify body and thus may reduce wrinkles and also provide clear complexion. It also acts as a healing property and heals burns, cuts or surgical wounds. It also helps to improve skin health with its benefits like – Improve skin elasticity, accelerates production of human growth hormone, limits skin inflammation and redness, stimulates collagen production, minimizes wrinkles and other signs of aging, eliminates dangerous skin microbes.
The bovine colostrums are available in powdered form, gel caps and capsules as well. Dosages or the serving sizes can vary from one person to the another. Athletes take about 20-60 gms of cow colostrum powder in order to improve their athletic performance. A healthy individual can start with ¼ th teaspoon of the cow colostrum powder and can further increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon.
Bovine colostrum powder and lactose intolerance
If you are lactose intolerant, you may mostly be intolerant to bovine colostrum as well because the bovine colostrum powder contains lactose in it. Though it is in powdered form your may react adversely due to lactose content.
Other names of bovine colostrum powder
The bovine colostrum or the cow colostrum is known by many other names –
- Bovine Colostrum
- Bovine Immunoglobulin
- Bovine Lacteal Compounds
- Colostrum Bovin
- Cow Milk Colostrum
- Hyperimmune Bovine Colostrum
- Immunoglobulin Bovine
Fresh colostrum milk powder is the best colostrum milk powder!
Cows do not make much of colostrum for a longer period of time. A farmer who cares for his cows will not harm his cows or the calf and will prefer taking a small amount of the colostrum. Fresh, frozen,powdered or dry colostrum are the best but are just expensive. Most importantly, these colostrum milk powders or capsules are not available all the time. It is hard to source and is available at a certain time of the year.
Shelf life of colostrum powder
The bovine colostrum powder should be stored in a dry, cool place and should be stored in an airtight container. You may refrigerate it for about 2 years of time.
Ultimately, is colostrum milk powder good for you?
Taking colostrum powder as a supplement is up to you. Though there are many benefits of the cow colostrum or the bovine colostrum it continues to be a confused question. There are yet many studies to be done to examine the effects of the colostrum milk powder as a supplement for adults. It is better to take colostrum milk powder from the A2 grass-fed cows which are not treated with any kind of artificial growth hormones.