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Scientific Studies Involving Colostrum

Bovine colostrum has been shown by scientific research to be completely compatible with human physiology and also to be effective in improving the outcome of a wide range of health conditions. The primary constituents of colostrum can be divided into two classes—immune factors (which support the immune system and form a defensive barrier against harmful invaders such as viruses and bacteria) and growth factors (which help build and restore bone, muscle, nerve tissue, connective tissue, skin, and cartilage). Colostrum also contains an array of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. These ingredients combine to create a perfect first food for infants and an excellent dietary supplement for the ongoing health for people of all ages. Over the last few decades an enormous amount of research has been carried out to investigate the possible health benefits that can be obtained from supplementation with colostrum. Following is a brief snapshot of some of that research. Several studies have shown that colostrum is effective in reducing the debilitating diarrhea suffered by AIDS patients. For example, Nord et al (AIDS. 1990 Jun;4(6):581-4) concluded that bovine colostrum with high levels of anti-Cryptosporidium antibody could be effective in treating AIDS patients who had diarrhea caused by the cryptosporidium pathogen. A similar study by Plettenberg et al (Clin Investig. 1993 Jan;71(1):42-5) showed that daily treatment with colostrum “constitutes an important therapeutic approach and led to complete (40%) or partial (24%) remission of diarrhea in 64% of the patients described here.” Bovine colostrum is rich in antibodies to other pathogenic organisms as well. For example, a placebo-controlled, double-blind study by Huppertz et al (J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1999 Oct;29(4):452-6) showed that children suffering from diarrhea due to E. coli bacteria benefited from supplementation with bovine colostrum. Korhonen et al (J Appl Bacteriol. 1995 Jun;78(6):655-62) showed that antibodies in bovine colostrum were effective in killing Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for causing the majority of gastric ulcers. A study by Playford et al (Gut. 1999 May;44(5):653-8) showed that the growth factors in bovine colostrum may prevent the stomach pains that are commonly associated with taking NSAID arthritis medications. They concluded that “bovine colostrum could provide a novel, inexpensive approach for the prevention and treatment of the injurious effects of NSAIDs on the gut and may also be of value for the treatment of other ulcerative conditions of the bowel.” A randomized, placebo-controlled trial by Bolke et al (Shock. 2002 Jan;17(1):9-12) investigated whether the pre-surgical consumption of bovine colostrum could beneficially affect some of the physiological changes that occur during surgery. It was found that the colostrum-supplemented group did have a better outcome in terms of the build-up of endotoxins, which led the authors to conclude that colostrum ingestion led to “a stabilization of the gut barrier during abdominal surgery.” Several studies have tried to determine whether there is any correlation between colostrum supplementation and exercise performance and body composition. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of elite hockey players (Hofman et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002;12:461-9), showed that the supplemented group had significantly greater improvements in sprint performance. A similar study by Brinkworth et al (Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002;12:349-65) undertaken with elite rowers showed increased performance by the supplemented subjects during a four-minute exercise. The above-mentioned studies are a small sample of the published research on the health benefits of colostrum, and many other trials are currently in progress.