The Proven Benefits of Bovine Colostrum for Leaky Gut and Immunity

Graphic depiction of a leaky gut for the bovine colostrum for leaky gut post by The Healthy RD
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Bovine colostrum is the ultra-immune substance in the first milking of cow’s milk that is gaining traction in research for its many health benefits.

In this post, learn if adding bovine colostrum will benefit your health especially when it comes to leaky gut.

Bovine Colostrum Overview

Bovine Colostrum is a powerful immune-enhancing part of milk that comes from cow’s milk. This nutrient-rich milk is particularly high in colostrum levels and other healing compounds.

If you are worried about the baby cows if you supplement colostrum, you should know that cows make an abundance of colostrum. There is a lot of extra colostrum in their mother’s first milk.  Therefore, colostrum can be extracted from the first milking of cows and leave a lot for the baby calves too. But you should make sure that you choose quality-sourced colostrum and from grass-fed cows to make sure that this happens.

Because colostrum is rich in protective antibodies, nutrients, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, growth factors, and other healthy compounds it is a very healing substance.

Research shows that bovine colostrum helps heal a leaky gut. By doing so, it helps protect the whole body from unwanted substances.

In a nutshell, colostrum improves the body’s immune tolerance and boosts overall health according to new research. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Leaky Gut?

A leaky gut is just like it sounds; it is a situation created by increased intestinal opening known as intestinal permeability. This widening of the opening in the gut cells allows unhealthy compounds to enter the bloodstream, such as toxins, allergens, and inflammatory substances.

Most digestive issues are related to leaky gut, such as Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, liver disorders, and malabsorption.

Additionally, other autoimmune conditions like lupus, food allergies, multiple sclerosis, and Type 1 diabetes are also linked to leaky gut. And research is even emerging that shows how a leaky gut may increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

Leaky gut is caused by many things: toxins, a poor diet, lack of nutrients, gluten, inflammatory compounds, drugs, stress, and more.

But healing a leaky gut is possible by improving your diet, getting enough nutrients, eliminating food sensitivities, and adding in healing compounds such as bovine colostrum.

Bovine Colostrum for Leaky Gut

Image of powdered bovine colostrum and bovine colostrum in capsules with wording bovine colostrum for leaky gut by The Healthy RD

Leaky gut is related to many diseases, especially autoimmune diseases and other conditions like autism. It is a condition where the gut cells become leaky, allowing unwanted and harmful substances into the body.

Incidentally, athletes also get leaky gut due to the stress of heavy exercise. Stressful situations are all thought to cause a leaky gut too.

Bovine colostrum supplements help reduce leaky gut. It also contains helpful digestive enzymes that support proper digestion of nutrients.

Here are some examples of how colostrum helps heal a leaky gut according to research.

A systematic review study of 9 clinical studies concluded that bovine colostrum heals leaky gut syndrome in athletes.

In one of these studies, using colostrum for 22 days in healthy athletes benefited their gut health by reducing leaky gut as measured by reduced zonulin levels. They also measured absorption of compounds that otherwise wouldn’t be in the bloodstream.

By the way, zonulin is a protein that increases the gaps between intestinal cells, resulting in intestinal “leakiness.”  

The people getting bovine colostrum had both reduced stool zonulin levels and zonulin blood levels compared to the placebo group.  

This is a good thing because it shows that their guts were healing because of colostrum. 

Other Gut Healing Effects of Colostrum

Colostrum given long-term also increases a healing compound called immunoglobulin A, which indicates that gut cells have a stronger protective lining.

Another study showed that colostrum has additive benefits in reducing leaky gut. In this study, people received zinc carnosine plus colostrum or zinc carnosine alone. Those getting both the zinc and colostrum had a bigger reduction in  gut permeability than those getting zinc only. This study clearly indicated that colostrum helps heal a leaky gut, in other words.

Early research work also shows that colostrum may be helpful in preventing or treating colitis symptoms by reducing inflammatory compounds.

Yet another study shows that bovine colostrum may help prevent some of the damage of drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. More research is needed in this area.

Related: How to heal your gut the whole body way (thehealthyrd.com)

Colostrum for Improved Immunity

There is no question that colostrum is beneficial for immunity. It is why breastfeeding babies have a much more robust immune system than babies who are formula-fed.

Besides infants, children and adults benefit from supplemental colostrum in some instances.

One recent study found that supplementing 1 gram per day of bovine colostrum reduced the frequency and severity of upper respiratory infections.

A review of 5 clinical trials concluded that bovine colostrum reduced both the number and severity of respiratory infections in people undergoing athletic training.

In fact, colostrum helps increase innate and adaptive immune health by improving the gut microbiome in animal studies.

Some research even indicates that bovine colostrum may reduce the chances of serious infections such as sepsis and gut infections, although more research is needed.

Colostrum Reduces Diarrhea Symptoms

Multiple studies show that using bovine colostrum reduces the symptoms of diarrhea. In fact, 5 clinical trials showed that colostrum reduced the frequency of diarrhea.

Colostrum helps to reduce diarrhea from various causes, including salmonella and E.coli sources in children, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled research trial.

In people with HIV-associated diarrhea, colostrum supplements reduced diarrhea symptoms dramatically and these patients also had improvements in immune counts as well as more energy.

One of the active compounds in colostrum is called lactoferrin.  This compound helps to reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea symptoms according to an 8-week study.

All told, colostrum supplements seem safe and effective for many kinds of diarrhea.

Colostrum and Autism

Children with autism almost universally suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, which are thought to be related to altered gut immunity and abnormal microbiomes.  

A small clinical trial found that both supplements of a probiotic called B. Longum and bovine colostrum resulted in improvements in digestive symptoms like constipation and diarrhea.  

These children also had reductions in irritability, hyperactivity, and repetitious acts when receiving both the probiotic and the colostrum.

While researchers don’t know for sure if colostrum helps all children with autism, it may be worth a try because it is good for overall digestion. 

Colostrum and Autoimmune Conditions

By helping to heal a leaky gut, colostrum is reported by many reviewers to help with their autoimmune conditions like arthritis and colitis. 

Colostrum has regulatory compounds that help keep the immune system healthy without going into overdrive by keeping T-cells in balance.

Early research shows that bovine colostrum may alleviate autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease

A small clinical study in people also showed that colostrum used as an enema is helpful in reducing colitis symptoms.

Related: Should You Try Colostrum For Allergies? (thehealthyrd.com)

Colostrum Benefits for Skin

Many colostrum testimonials claim that colostrum helps improve skin health for conditions like wound healing and eczema.

This logically makes sense because your skin is your first line of defense for your immune system as are your gut cells. Gut health is often very tightly linked to skin health.

I’ll admit that research is scant here, but there are a few studies that show that colostrum may help speed up wound healing by increasing the growth of skin cells called keratinocytes.

Other research shows that colostrum may help improve skin wound healing by helping to regulate the immune system and by boosting growth factors.

Other Potential Colostrum Benefits

Bovine colostrum supplementation may help to provide immune support and by doing so, may provide the following benefits as well:

  • Reduce stomach distress from over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen
  • May reduce Helicobacter pylori stomach infections
  • Improves energy
  • Reduce allergy symptoms
  • Calms inflammation
  • May help regulate appetite
  • Upper respiratory health
  • May improve bone density
  • Improves the diversity of the microbiome

Interesting fact: prior to the advent of antibiotics, colostrum was used to help reduce infections, but this use was lost after the popularity of antibiotics. 

Colostrum for Exercise Recovery

Using colostrum may help heal tissue recovery because it helps boost insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels while reducing inflammation in the body.  

Both athletic performance and an increase in muscle mass occur in people who exercise and use colostrum supplements.

Related post: Comprehensive leaky gut diet guide + how to heal your gut (thehealthyrd.com)

Colostrum May Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Anything that is good for healing a leaky gut is thought to help reduce allergy symptoms. Colostrum is no exception.

For example, infants drinking raw milk with colostrum have less allergy symptoms than those who do not.

While there is but scant research in this area, bovine colostrum for allergies is my go-to because it tends to work fairly immediately on reducing my allergies.

Is Colostrum Safe?

Over 2000 research trials have been conducted where colostrum has been used and it is generally recognized as safe. 

Rarely, do people who take colostrum supplements experience what is called a Herxheimer reaction, which is a type of healing reaction. The symptoms can include flu-like symptoms, headache, or nausea.  These symptoms will go away after a few days of use typically. 

If this occurs, simply reduce the dose and slowly increase the dose to the recommended amount as tolerated. 

Bovine colostrum is made from cow’s milk so if you have a cow’s milk allergy, you should avoid taking colostrum supplements. It is low in lactose, however, so most people with lactose intolerance can use bovine colostrum.

Related: 8 Best Superfood Powders for Gut Health | The Healthy RD

How to Use Bovine Colostrum

  • The best time to take colostrum is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  
  • When taking bovine colostrum, do not mix it with hot beverages or hot foods.  
  • For maximum benefit, it should always be taken on an empty stomach. 
  • It is easy to mix the colostrum powder with about 1 to 2 ounces of water and drink it because the taste is mild and pleasant. 
  • For best gut health results,  take 1 to 2 teaspoons both morning and evening or twice a day on an empty stomach for best gut health support.
  • If you are looking for anti-aging benefits or for athletic benefits, it may take up to 2 tablespoons twice daily. 

You can even safely give colostrum to your pets, starting with a much smaller dose for small animals, such as ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon, but if you have a big dog, you can give them the full teaspoon dose. 

Some people choose to take colostrum capsules, which is certainly a convenient option, but ideally, get the powder whenever possible for the best benefits possible.

How Long Does Colostrum Take to Work? 

Most people feel that taking colostrum takes a few weeks to work, but others notice that their symptoms start improving after 3 or 4 days. 

How Long Should You Take Colostrum? 

Like many dietary supplements, consistency is key. 

If you stop taking colostrum, you will probably not retain the health benefits of colostrum, so it is recommended that you take colostrum consistently and daily. 

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body is shared for educational purposes only and is not meant to provide medical advice. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.

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