Colostrum

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Colostrum, also known as first milk, is a mammary secretion produced by cows and related animals. The results of supplementation are similar to supplementing whey protein, though colostrum may offer some unique benefits for the immune and digestive systems.

Colostrum is most often used for

Summary

Colostrum is a pre-milk fluid produced in the mammary glands of mammals that have recently given birth. Newborns have immature digestive and immune systems, so the enzymes, antibodies, and growth factors colostrum provides promote growth and fight disease. Though colostrum is produced by all mammals, colostrum supplements are usually derived from bovine or (less frequently) goat sources. Colostrum has become a popular nutritional supplement because it is a rich source of enzymes, antibodies, and growth factors not found in other dairy products.

The undeveloped intestinal tract of a newborn allows the growth factors present in colostrum to pass freely through the intestinal wall for absorption. However, fully-developed adult mammal intestines will break down the beneficial compounds before they can be absorbed into the blood stream. Though digestive enzymes prevent colostrum growth factors from affecting muscles, they will still exert a local effect, which increase intestinal integrity. This prevents inflammation, like the kind that can be caused by prolonged, intense exercise, like competitive cycling. Outside of intense exercise, supplementing colostrum will have an effect similar to supplementing whey protein or casein protein.

Athletes often supplement colostrum in an effort to increase fat burning, add lean mass, or increase strength. Since their digestive systems are fully developed, these effects do not occur, and the body breaks down the growth factors and enzymes that colostrum provides before they can be transported to muscle cells.

The antibodies present in colostrum are also effective at reducing diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli and reducing the risk of HIV infection. To prevent E. coli-induced diarrhea, the colostrum must be obtained from an immunized animal.

What else is Colostrum known as?
Note that Colostrum is also known as:
  • First Milk
  • Bovine colostrum
Dosage information

The standard colostrum dose intended as a protein supplemented or intestinal health agent is between 20-60g. This dose contains 2-4g (10-20%) of immunoglobulin.

Colostrum is supplemented through a powder form.

A colostrum dose intended to reduce the risk of E. coli-induced diarrhea should contain between 400-3,500mg of immunoglobulins. It should be taken shortly after a meal. Colostrum intended to reduce the risk of diseases related to E. coli must come from a cow (or similar animal) that has been immunized against E. coli.

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