Bovine Colostrum Benefits – Should Adults Take Colostrum?


Bovine Colostrum In Adult Diets

While we see it is biologically necessary for newborns, a lot of new research is coming out about the benefits of colostrum for adults throughout their whole life. No, you don’t need to buy breast milk online (yes, that is a thing!) Instead, you can buy supplements that are derived from bovine colostrum (colostrum from cows). Even though it is slightly lower in nutrients compared to human colostrum it still contains immunoglobulin antibodies (igA), lactoferrin, and growth factors which support optimal health.

While this may seem a little far-fetched to us today, adults have been using bovine colostrum for thousands of years, specifically in Ayurvedic medicine. And after all, bovine colostrum is simply a more nutrient-dense version of what we have been encouraged to drink for years – you know, to achieve strong bones and all that.

If this still seems a little bit outlandish, let’s geek out a bit and take a deeper look at all the exciting research on bovine colostrum benefits for adults, all of which I have seen firsthand with my functional medicine patients. And just maybe I’ll convince you to add it into your own wellness routine.

Reducing Inflammation

Bovine colostrum is particularly high in lactoferrin. This powerful inflammation moderator actually rises in our bodies during times of increased inflammation by working to help lower the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6. (1) In fact, doctors test lactoferrin levels in patient’s stool to help diagnose C.diff and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). (2)

When looking at how colostrum benefits inflammation, gut health is a major benefactor, as well as immune health and muscle healing. Let’s dive a little deeper into each of those areas and explore how exactly colostrum will help. 

Quick Refresh: What Is Leaky Gut?

Years of unhealthy food, toxins, and stress can lead to leaky gut syndrome – a condition that results in damage to the intestinal lining. When this happens, undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins known as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) “leak” into the bloodstream causing a cascade of inflammation which increases your likelihood of chronic health problems such as heart disease and autoimmune conditions. Lactoferrin acts as a prebiotic and stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. (5) It also has been shown to support health of the gastrointestinal tract by promoting cell growth (6) in the intestines. This helps to soothe inflammation and heal a damaged gut.

Read more: How To Heal Your Gut Naturally

Does Colostrum Heal The Gut Lining?

Using colostrum for leaky gut is extremely effective. The lactoferrin in bovine colostrum is a powerhouse for promoting muscle growth and healing due to its high amount of antioxidants and growth factors, including insulin like growth-factor-l (IGF-I). Studies show that bovine colostrum supplementation can reduce (7) oxidative stress and overall damage to muscles after exercise, making this a perfect supplement to support athletes. Additional studies (8) also showed that 8 weeks of bovine colostrum supplements increased lean muscle mass and athletic performance.

Does Colostrum Strengthen Immunity?

Lactoferrin works to boost immune-balancing T-cells and increase natural white blood cells which help to regulate your body’s defense against pathogens. To look at lactoferrin’s effect on the immune system, researchers gave (9) oral lactoferrin to mice with suppressed immune systems due to chemotherapy and autoimmune conditions. They found that their immune systems were strengthened as well as their symptoms and overall state of their autoimmune condition.

An additional benefit is lactoferrin’s natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral abilities. By binding to viral and bacterial cells, lactoferrin is able to inhibit pathogen growth  (10) and prevent their entry into the body’s cell.

How Much Colostrum Should You Take For Leaky Gut?

We have only seen the tip of the iceberg with bovine colostrum supplement benefits. With more buzz around colostrum, there will undoubtedly be more research to examine and confirm the effects of adult supplementation and using colostrum for leaky gut, inflammation, immune support, or other conditions. Until more studies are done, there is no recommended dosage or potential side effects of this supplement. It is best to consult with your doctor for a personalized plan. If you would like to start taking colostrum, make sure to get a supplement that is derived from grass-fed cows, and not ones given artificial growth hormones.

Seeking Support From A Functional Medicine Expert

While there are many benefits of colostrum for both adults and infants, it is always important to consult your functional medicine doctor when incorporating new supplements into your diet. An expert can help tailor your efforts to your unique biology and needs, so you can experience the most effective results possible.

 

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