Colostrum Definition: Colostrum is the first nutrient-rich fluid produces by female mammals immediately after giving birth to the young one. Colostrum starts developing during the mid of pregnancy (12-18 weeks) but lasts for several days after the birth of the baby. It is thick, sticky, concentrated & is usually yellow, clear or white, or other colors as well. Colostrum is produced by a hormone called prolactin which is responsible for lactation during pregnancy. It’s high in nutrients that promote infant growth, immunity, and tissue repair factor. It is the most nutrient-dense form of milk, it is richer than mature milk in terms of its components.
Nutritional value of colostrum (Composition of colostrum )
• Antibodies leukocytes (IgA, IgG, IgM)
• Iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium
Colostrum contains 10 times more Vitamin A and 3 times more Vitamin D than mature milk.
How to differentiate milk from colostrum (colostrum vs milk)?
The protein in colostrum is higher during the initial lactation period which rapidly decreases with time. Hence differentiate milk from colostrum. Colostrum is a complex biological fluid. It helps in the development of immunity in the newborn. After 3-5 days it is replaced by transitional milk which is creamy and has increased level of lactose and fat for energy and growing of the newborn which is further replaced by the mature milk after 2 weeks.
Colostrum – A superfood?
Colostrum is not just only beneficial to the newborn but also useful for adults. Adults too consume it in the form of supplements. The human colostrum is accessible only from a mother to her child but the adults consume this superfood in the form of supplements. These supplements are usually made from the colostrum of cow known as Bovine Colostrum.
A 2015 study suggests that some adults take colostrum supplements to support their immune system or to get other health benefits.
Bovine Colostrum is similar to human colostrum. It is light yellow in color and its taste and smell resemble buttermilk.
Bovine Colostrum is rich in vitamins, minerals, fats, calcium, growth hormones, etc.
To make these supplements, Cow’s colostrum is pasteurized and dried into pills or in powder form that can be mixed into liquids before consumption.
Is Colostrum the next generation superfood?
Bovine Colostrum is considered as the superfood due to the following reasons:-
1) It Boosts Immunity
Bovine Colostrum contains a high concentration of antibodies like IgA and IgG that fight against any disease-causing virus or bacteria thus boosting immunity. The antibodies are the proteins that fight viruses and bacteria.
Its not just only immune targeting superfood but it is also used by athletes to boost their performance. Colostrum has gained its popularity amongst athletes as it helps them to burn more fat, build muscles, enhance their performance and even promote wound healing.
3) It Strengthens the Gut
Bovine Colostrum help to prevent gastrointestinal problems caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
According to the study in 2001, the research shows that the consumption of Colostrum help in the protection of gastrointestinal problems caused by the long-term use of indomethacin (A NSAID used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis).
Bovine Colostrum also prevents the condition called leaky gut syndrome in which the undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria leak through the damaged lining of the small intestine and hence pollute the bloodstream.
According to the research, Bovine colostrum may also provide relief to idiopathic diarrhea Bovine colostrum also contains lactoferrin which is a great probiotic which helps in the growth of good bacteria.
3) It Boosts Metabolism
Bovine Colostrum increases metabolism. A person with low metabolism tends to feel sick fast and face various other health issues. The most common being are glucose intolerance, fatigue, hormonal disease, resistance to insulin, and so on. Having bovine Colostrum via supplements improves the liver enzymes and tolerance to glucose while boosting metabolism. Hence this superfood help boosts metabolism.
4) It Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Bovine Colostrum boosts the immune system, fights the growth of bacteria. It also boosts the production of GcMAF. It is the type of vitamin D binding protein that helps to fight the cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying in the body. Hence GcMAF is a body’s natural shield to protect against cancer. And consuming bovine Colostrum boosts the production of GcMAF. Therefore Bovine colostrum can be considered a superfood as it has the power to protect the person from cancer.
5) It prevents against flu
Bovine Colostrum is loaded with anti-bodies. It contains an antibody called IgG that binds with the pathogens and allergens inside the body.
According to the study in 2007, the participants who took Bovine colostrum supplements for two months, the number of days with flu was 3 times shorter than those people who do-not took the supplements.
Bovine Colostrum neutralizes the infection and inflammation. Even the Colostrum is also present in the saliva which helps cut down the bacterial growth in the lymph glands reducing the chance of sore throat, common cold, and fever.
According to another study in 2016 in Egypt, it shows that those children provided with daily colostrum supplements for two months had 37 % fewer upper respiratory tract infections than the children not provided with the supplements. So Bovine Colostrum is a superfood that can help relieve faster from flu and infection.
6) Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is caused by the auto-immune response. Bovine Colostrum is loaded with proline-rich polypeptides (PRP), which help to restore balance and cellular function.
PRP relieves swelling and acuteness of inflammatory diseases like arthritis & fibromyalgia. Thus this superfood had amazing results on inflammation.
Bovine Colostrum supplements are available in powdered as well as in capsules and gel caps. There are even colostrum nasal drops available both online and in medical shops.
The dosage of taking these supplements may vary from person to person. But for an athlete, it is recommended to take at least a 20gm-60gm dose. To treat diarrhea Colostrum should be taken before a meal.
Bovine Colostrum has many health benefits and hence it should be considered as a next-generation superfood. It should be taken as per the advice of a doctor.