Colostrum is a milky fluid that comes from the breasts of humans, cows, and other mammals the first few days after giving birth before true milk appears. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins (antibodies) that fight disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses. Antibody levels in colostrums can be 100 times higher than levels in regular cow’s milk.
Some athletes use bovine colostrum to burn fat, build lean muscle, increase stamina and vitality, and improve athletic performance. Bovine colostrum is not on the banned drug list of the International Olympic Committee.
Bovine colostrum is also used for boosting the immune system, healing injuries, repairing nervous system damage, improving mood and sense of well being, slowing and reversing aging, and as an agent for killing bacteria and fungus.
Bovine colostrum is used in the rectum to treat inflammation of the colon (colitis).
Researchers have created a special type of bovine colostrum called “hyperimune bovine colostrum.” This special colostrum is produced by cows that have received vaccinations against specific disease-causing organisms. The vaccinations cause the cows to develop antibodies to fight those specific organisms. The antibodies pass into the colostrum. Hyperimmune bovine colostrum has been used in clinical trials for treating AIDS-related diarrhea, diarrhea associated with graft versus host disease following bone marrow transplant, and rotavirus diarrhea in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted hyperimmune bovine colostrum “orphan drug status.” Under the Orphan Drug Law, drug makers who invest in the development of treatments for rare conditions enjoy special market advantages; for example, permission to sell the drug without competition for 7 years. If these special incentives were not in place, pharmaceutical companies might not develop drugs for rare conditions because the potential market is so small.
Colostrum is collected from cows that have been vaccinated to produce antibodies that fight the bacteria that cause diarrheal disease. Research shows that taking bovine colostrum by mouth for 8-12 weeks can reduce of the number of episodes and symptoms of upper airway infections in people who exercise.
Infectious diarrhea. Taking bovine colostrum seems to prevent infectious diarrhea from developing in adults, as well as children with a history of infectious diarrhea. It also seems to treat infectious diarrhea that has already developed in children. But it doesn’t appear to speed recovery from infectious diarrhea in children who are also taking an antibiotic.
Diarrhea in people with HIV. Taking bovine colostrum helps reduce diarrhea in people with HIV. Most research has used hyperimmune bovine colostrum.
The flu (influenza). Taking a specific type of bovine colostrum (Ad Colostrum, Corcon srl) by mouth for 8 weeks helps prevent the flu, including in people that have already been vaccinated against the flu and in people with heart disease who have a higher risk of getting the flu. Rotaviral diarrhea. Taking bovine colostrum seems to reduce diarrhea in children with diarrhea due to rotavirus. Most research has used hyperimmune bovine colostrum.