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One of our favorite supplements is bovine colostrum. Bovine colostrum is the milk a cow secretes within the first few days of giving birth. You can use it as a supplement, and it’s rich in immunoglobulins, which are antibodies that stimulate the immune system.
- Humans and mammals produce colostrum before the release of breast milk
- It’s nutritious with high antibody levels, which fight bacteria and infections
- There’s evidence taking bovine colostrum supplements may help improve gut health and immunity
- Colostrum supplements can be pasteurized and then dried to make pills or powders that you mix with liquids
Top-Ranked Bovine Colostrum
We’re big fans of colostrum supplements, and we have a few favorites that our editors use themselves and that we think are the best available products.
- Colostrum contains bioactive building blocks for human growth, and cellular, tissue, and organ repair
- Packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes
- Supports gut and immune system function
- Good for thymus health
- Supports athletic performance
- Helps fight disease and destroy pathogens
- Contains lactalbumins, which can help protect against cancer and viruses and may also raise brain serotonin activity and reduce cortisol concentration
- Made from grass-fed, Grade A dairy cows
- First-milking is flash-pasteurized and low heat-dried for safety
- Proprietary liposomal delivery for the most bioavailability
- May help manage cytokines and activated T-cells
- Many people find the product helps with leaky gut
- According to reviews, this product helps with diarrhea and other functional gut and digestive issues
- A lot of people also feel this liposomal bovine colostrum helps with mood and anxiety
- Same as the above formulation, but in powder form
- High bioavailability, meaning your body can absorb and use it more effectively
- Helps with bone and lean muscle mass
- Supports cognitive function
- Helps promote a healthy GI system
- According to the company, the product is 1500% more effective than other brands
- More than 100 active components that help mammals thrive, such as immunoglobulins and lactoferrin
- Helps activate and balance immune cell function and immune response
- Highly concentrated with growth factors
- Pure Encapsulations is one of the leading overall supplement brands
- Top-rated bovine colostrum on Amazon
- Allergen and GMO-free
- Each serving size of two capsules contains 900 mg of bovine colostrum
- According to reviews, it helps boost immunity
- Reviews indicate this colostrum does help repair the lining of the gut
What is Bovine Colostrum?
Colostrum is what mammals, including humans and cows, release after giving birth and before the production of breast milk. For human infants, colostrum is an important part of helping fight disease and promote growth. While all mammals produce colostrum, for supplement purposes, you most commonly see bovine colostrum.
Bovine colostrum is very similar to human colostrum. It’s packed with vitamins, proteins that fight diseases, digestive enzymes, growth hormones, and healthy fats.
The supplements have become increasingly popular because of their ability to modulate immune health, protect against infections, and improve the gut’s health.
When you use a colostrum supplement, it’s pasteurized. Then, it’s dried and is turned into a pill or a powder.
There are a lot more nutrients in colostrum than in regular milk.
Colostrum is high in:
- B vitamins
- Vitamins A, C, and E
There are specific proteins that are also an important part of the benefits of colostrum as a supplement.
- Growth factors: These are hormones that stimulating growth. Two insulin-similar growth factors are high in bovine colostrum. These are IGF-1 and IGF-2.
- Antibodies: Antibodies are also known as immunoglobulins. These are what your immune system uses to fight viruses and bacteria. Colostrum from cows is right in IgA, IgG, and IgM.
- Lactoferrin: This is a protein that plays a pivotal role in your immune system response. Lactoferrin can also help with binding and transportation of iron, and some people use lactoferrin supplements for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
Understanding the benefits of lactoferrin is an important part of getting the overall benefits of colostrum supplements. Lactoferrin is powerful and it can boost your body’s own innate immunity against fungus, bacteria, and viruses. Lactoferrin is also thought to stimulate white blood cell formation at your mucous membranes located in the digestive tract.
Lactoferrin, as a result, may also help with the development of beneficial flora in your intestines.
Lactoferrin can help regulate your intestine’s absorption of iron and how iron is delivered to cells.
Lactoferrin is a transferrin protein that takes iron to your cells and controls the amount of free iron in your blood. Similarly, lactoferrin helps with the transport of B12 and it’s an antioxidant.
Bovine colostrum’s role in immune health and function was touched on a bit above, but it’s one of the main reasons people take these kinds of supplements.
Colostrum is thought to boost your natural immune system and can help you avoid illnesses.
The immune-boosting benefits of colostrum are likely due to the antibodies IgA and IgG. Antibodies are a type of protein that fights viruses and bacteria.
A small study from 2007 showed that colostrum supplements may help with flu prevention and may help shorten recovery times in people who do get sick with the flu.
There was a 2016 study from Egypt with similar findings. Children who were given a daily colostrum supplement for two months had 37% fewer respiratory tract infections than kids who didn’t take the supplement.
The antibodies and also the lactoferrin in colostrum may help prevent and treat diarrhea.
For example, there was a study of 87 adults experiencing HIV-related diarrhea. Taking 100 grams of bovine colostrum a day and traditional diarrhea medicines decreased the frequency of diarrhea 21% more than taking medicine alone.
Colostrum can help protect against traveler’s diarrhea too, which is caused by E. coli.
We are learning so much about the role of gut health on our mental health and our overall wellness. Colostrum may improve your gut health and combat infections in the digestive tract.
There have been studies in both animals and humans that have shown colostrum supplements stimulate the growth of cells in the intestines and prevent intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability is related to leaky gut.
In one study of people susceptible to intestinal permeability because of heavy exercise, taking 20 grams of cow colostrum a day prevented 80% of the increase experienced by the participants who took a placebo.
There have been a few studies showing colostrum supplements could improve athletic performance. There was a study from 2001 of active women and men who were given either whey protein or colostrum. Over eight weeks, study participants then did heavy resistance training and aerobic exercise at least three times a week.
The colostrum group had a significant increase in lean body mass. The whey protein group had a significant increase in body weight.
There was also a 2009 review of studies looking at exercise performance and colostrum, which found the supplements were effective during high-intensity training and subsequent recovery.
Are There Any Risks of Bovine Colostrum?
Overall, based on the currently available human research, colostrum from cows seems to be safe and have minimal if any side effects. Of course, speak to your doctor before taking a supplement.
If you’re allergic to milk, you should also avoid cow colostrum, and some products can have additives that are allergens, such as soy.
When choosing a supplement, it’s important to opt for one that’s produced with quality in mind, like the ones we highlight. You want the supplement to be sourced from cows raised without antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides. You should also look for a supplement that’s tested to ensure the result doesn’t have any of these things.
Some people worry about the ethical considerations of colostrum, but many companies, including the ones we highlighted, consider this. Usually, the baby cows will first get the colostrum and then only after that happens is it sourced for supplements.
Another worry that you may have about the use of cow colostrum is whether it could create food safety issues. For example, there is a worry about Salmonella. With adequate and proper pasteurization, this shouldn’t be an issue. Again, the companies we highlighted above go the extra mile to make and process their products.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bovine Colostrum?
Bovine colostrum is the nutrient-rich substance produced by cows right after giving birth before they start producing milk. All mammals make colostrum and it’s an incredibly important part of a newborn’s health and wellness. Cow colostrum can also be used to improve your health status when taken as a supplement.
What is Bovine Colostrum Used For?
Cow colostrum supplements are used to improve different areas of health. One of the biggest reasons people use colostrum supplements is to heal leaky gut, reduce diarrhea, and improve the health of their entire digestive system.
Colostrum from cows is also very beneficial for immunity. It can help you fight bacteria and viruses.
There’s some evidence taking a colostrum supplement can improve mental health and may improve iron deficiency anemia as well.
What is in Bovine Colostrum?
Bovine colostrum is rich in healthy fats, proteins that fight viruses and other illnesses, vitamins, digestive enzymes, and growth hormones.
One of the key things in cow colostrum is called lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a protein that’s involved in your immune response to viral and bacterial infections. There are also antibodies in colostrum supplements. Antibodies are known as immunoglobulins, and they’re used by your body to fight viruses and bacteria as well.
Where Can I Buy Bovine Colostrum?
As we’re currently aware, the only places to buy cow colostrum supplements would be online or perhaps through a local farmer. For purposes of safety, quality, and consistency, buying from a reputable company is important. You want to buy the colostrum from a company with a good reputation for making these supplements and one that focuses on testing standards. You also want a company that emphasizes the health of the cows.
Each of the above-ranked colostrum supplements can be purchased on Amazon. You can also buy the brands through the company’s websites, but you will have to pay for shipping.