Bovine Colostrum Supplementation: A Guide for Health Writers & Influencers
Bovine colostrum (BC) is a unique and versatile nutritional supplement that has been on the market for humans for more than 30 years. Utilized primarily for athletic performance in the 2000s, bovine colostrum has now emerged as an immune-enhancing, gut-restoring supplement offering benefits to people of all ages. From infants to centenarians, BC has something to offer anyone looking to improve their current health, reduce the risk of disability, and enjoy more physical and mental vitality. And whether professional or amateur, there are added benefits for athletic individuals and avid exercisers, including increased lean muscle mass, improved recovery between workouts, and fewer upper respiratory infections.
While many health/wellness writers and influencers are well-acquainted with traditional vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and botanicals, few realize the importance of bovine colostrum as a dietary supplement. Furthermore, many people do not know what colostrum is or why it’s known as “the first food of life.” Colostrum is expressed by all female mammals, including humans, after they give birth and provides the first food for newborns. It consists of concentrated immune bioactives, growth factors, and a plethora of other nutrients which help jumpstart the newborn’s immune system and heal its leaky gut. Colostrum is not breastmilk, which comes in about 72 hours later as colostrum production tapers off.
The importance of a mother’s colostrum (and breastmilk) cannot be understated in terms of her newborn’s health and development; colostrum and breastmilk consumption provide a vital foundation for physical and mental growth and development. Beyond infancy, colostrum offers health benefits, and this is where we turn to animal-sourced colostrum. In much the same way that a newborn mammal has a leaky gut at birth, and colostrum seals up the microscopic holes, so too can anyone develop leaky gut later in life and commercial mammalian colostrum can be utilized.
Bovine colostrum is most plentiful due to the Western dairy industry, although colostrum from goats, yaks, camels is also available in some parts of the world. There has been some concern that BC supplement manufacturers deprive the newborn calves of their mothers’ colostrum. This is not the case. Dairy cows produce significantly more colostrum than their calves consume, which allows for ethical harvesting of the extra.
Bovine colostrum supplementation has a variety of uses, and consumers are often drawn to the one or two that address their specific health concerns. It may be tempting to generalize BC as a “snake oil supplement,” yet as we learn more about the connection between gut integrity, the microbiome, and immune health, its many uses are very much connected. It’s likely that at least 8 out of 10 Americans has leaky gut, many of whom are unaware. And yet, they suffer needlessly from conditions linked with leaky gut and an unbalanced microbiome – food allergies, autoimmune diseases (i.e., arthritis, Crohn’s disease, depression, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes), and a host of other chronic digestive health issues (i.e., Crohn’s, IBS, ulcerative colitis, GERD).
Just as bovine colostrum is not snake oil, or some miracle cure for what ails an individual, daily supplementation has provided improved health, as evidenced by the thousands of testimonials in the public domain. Ongoing scientific research continues to investigate the mechanisms of how colostrum works to heal the body. The most accepted theory is that by healing a leaky gut, the human body heals itself. By stopping the leakage of toxins (pollution, pesticides), pathogenic bacteria, and undigested food particles through a leaky gut into the bloodstream, the immune system won’t go into overdrive attacking the foreign material, nor will it cause chronic inflammation and attack the body’s own tissues and organs. The task of healing leaky gut is primarily performed by colostrum’s growth factors. The immune bioactives are responsible for revving up an underactive immune system or toning down an overactive immune system in response to infectious threats posed by pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
In additional to daily bovine colostrum supplementation, a healthy lifestyle is equally imperative. No matter how much bovine colostrum a person takes, it’s not a substitute for being sedentary, eating the Standard American Diet, smoking, drinking excessively, not getting enough sleep, and not managing one’s personal stress. There are some factors that are simply unavoidable, such as occasional antibiotic or pain medication use, environmental pollution, pesticide-laden foods, and/or contaminated water. Bovine colostrum supplementation helps combat these factors and offers a tangible chance to live life with maximum health span.
Occasional bovine colostrum use doesn’t generally help either. There are ongoing threats to both an integrous gut lining and a balanced microbiome, so BC supplementation should become a twice-daily habit. Ideally, bovine colostrum should be taken on an empty stomach upon rising in the morning and before bedtime. Because BC is a food – and not a drug – it can be consumed in any quantity; a typical serving is 1 Tablespoon two to four times per day. Depending on one’s body-awareness, some people will notice improvements in a week or two, and most within 4-6 weeks.
Bovine colostrum does contain some naturally-occurring lactose, so people with a lactose sensitivity should begin their supplementation regimen with a small amount and gradually build up to the recommended serving size. As an animal product, BC may not be appropriate for vegans and some vegetarians. It should be noted, however, that plant-based food is able to do what BC can do in terms of healing leaky gut. Consistent bovine colostrum use is the most effective and clinically proven way to heal leaky gut.
Applications for BC Use:
- Leaky Gut
- Microbiome Optimization
- Immune Health
- Athletic Performance
- Infant Health, Failure to Thrive
- Post-partum Rejuvenation
- Allergies & Autoimmune Diseases
- Mild Mental Health Issues
- Mild Neurocognitive Decline
- Chronic Pain
- Joint Pain
- Influenza & Viral Infections
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions
- Topical Wounds
- Mammalian Pet Health
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