Unveiling the Truth About Colostrum: Immune Booster or Just Nutritional Supplement?

Unveiling the Truth About Colostrum: Immune Booster or Just Nutritional Supplement?

Available in tablets, capsules, and syrup, this immune-boosting supplement is advertised as "white gold". It's praised for its "secret ingredients", including lactoferrin and lysozyme, which are actually proteins found in cow's milk. But do experts agree that colostrum is mainly beneficial for calves, or is it a priceless weapon for children and the elderly too?

What is Colostrum and What Does It Help With? Colostrum, also known as first milk or "liquid gold", is the first secretion accumulating in the mammary glands of mammals - whether it's a cow, mare, or human. Before you decide to invest in a product touted as an "immunological bomb of bioactive ingredients", it's important to know more about it.

Does Colostrum Work for Adults? Colostrum is indeed packed with numerous valuable substances supporting the immune system, but it's primarily intended for the mammal it's produced for. Colostrum varies in function, including antibacterial activity, enhancing immunological memory, stimulating gut flora development, and aiding in the absorption of important nutrients. While these are crucial immunological actions for newborns and perhaps infants, the effects have not been proven as significant for older children and adults.

Is It Worth Using Colostrum? Colostrum has been thoroughly examined since the early 21st century. Many studies conducted raise doubts about their methodology, and their conclusions about the noticeable role in stimulating the immune system are limited. Randomized studies comparing the effects of colostrum to a placebo effect also exist.

What Does Bovine Colostrum Help With? While bovine colostrum is packed with immune-boosting substances and has been the subject of various studies, the consensus on its effectiveness, especially for adults, is not clear-cut. When adults consume colostrum, it appears that the process is similar to the intake of other protein-rich foods like milk, dairy, or meat. The body typically breaks down these immunoactive proteins during digestion before they can be effectively absorbed in the intestines. Even for the small portion that might reach the intestines, the intestinal wall in a healthy individual is not permeable enough for these proteins to pass through, leading to minimal, if any, absorption. Essentially, for most adults, consuming colostrum doesn't have a significantly different effect from other common protein sources.

For older children and adults, colostrum is simply a nutritional ingredient.


F.O Uruakpa, M.A.H Ismond, E.N.T Akobundu, "Colostrum and its benefits: a review", Elsevier, Nutrition Research, Volume 22, Issue 6, June 2002, Pages 755-767 Danielle A W Wolvers, Wendy MR van Herpen-Broekmans, Margot HGM Logman, Reggy PJ van der Wielen, Ruud Albers, "Effect of a mixture of micronutrients, but not of bovine colostrum concentrate, on immune function parameters in healthy volunteers: a randomized placebo-controlled study", Randomized Controlled Trial Nutr J. 2006 Nov 21:5:28. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-5-28

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