Should you consider taking COLOSTRUM?
I know what you’re thinking, reading the title of this post. “Colostrum?! Like...breast milk?” Well, kind of...but not really. Before you write it off and decide I’ve officially gone crazy, you’ll want to stick around and read the benefits of this stuff.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum can be thought of as the “first milk,” secreted before the actual breast milk of humans and other mammals. This milky liquid contains, quite literally, the building blocks of life: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that, yep you guessed it, give the infant their basic immunity.
But infants aren’t the only ones who can benefit from colostrum’s immune-boosting properties. Colostrum supplementation (in the form of powder-filled capsules, or just plain powder) has shown to be effective for a host of illnesses and ailments...and even for endurance athletes who frequently experience suppressed immunity as a result of increased cortisol production due to the stress of physical exercise on their bodies (1).
What is colostrum used for?
The most prevalent use of colostrum is for healing the gut. As noted above, colostrum supplies a rich array of nutrients and immunoglobulins—which can, therefore, boost levels of secretory IgA in the gut. Secretory IgA, or SIgA, is a specialized immunoglobulin protein that is often deficient (and in extreme cases, depleted) in individuals with gut disorders like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, IBS/IBD, and even autism (2).
Since we are learning more and more about the importance of gut health in overall health and wellness (and the time poor gut health plays in a host of diseases), colostrum supplementation could potentially benefit many more individuals than just those with inflammatory digestive disorders—including those of us with cystic fibrosis. Research has shown in recent times that the majority of cystic fibrosis patients have intestinal dysbiosis, or an imbalance in gut bacteria, which can drastically impact immune function (not to mention digestive health)...and even influence GENE EXPRESSION (3,4).
Who can benefit from bovine colostrum supplementation?
As I mentioned above, colostrum could potentially benefit literally everyone who has less-than-optimal health. Bold claim? Hippocrates didn’t think so...the Father of Modern Medicine himself said “All disease begins in the gut.”
Colostrum has shown promise for the digestive disorders listed above, as well as eczema and psoriasis, respiratory illnesses (including asthma and chemical sensitivities), inflammatory joint conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological disorders (1,2). Colostrum has also been shown to assist in weight loss as it balances the gut flora, promoting the healthy bacteria (like lactobacillus gasseri) that help us maintain a healthy weight. Endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists also use colostrum supplementation for immunity, while bodybuilders are calling it the new “legal steroid” (it has been shown to dramatically improve muscle mass...but it’s not on the FDA list of banned supplements in sports...yet!) (2).
Colostrum has also been shown to improve (and reverse!) intestinal permeability, these days more commonly called “leaky gut,” even when given to patients undergoing high-dose NSAID therapy (5). (NOTE: NSAID use is one of the top causes of intestinal permeability, as these drugs literally stop the body’s natural and healthy inflammation response. This, in turn, can lead to irritants getting access to delicate parts of the intestinal wall and wreaking havoc by loosening the tightly knit junctions that are designed to keep harmful substances out. When these junctions are loosened severely enough, large particles of food and other toxins will leech through and pass into the bloodstream. See what Hippocrates meant with “all disease begins in the gut”?!)
Benefits of bovine colostrum (benefits I’ve noticed):
Since starting to take colostrum (I use the straight powder since it’s one less step for my gut to be able to absorb it...I don’t always do well with capsules...) I have noticed a massive increase in energy, decrease in food sensitivities/gas/bloating, improved mood and clarity, and reduced joint and muscle pain. And I’ve only been taking it for about a month and a half (maybe two, I can’t remember exactly when I started it...). Another thing? I crave it. I know it sounds weird...but literally I could eat spoonfuls of the stuff. I love it! Proof that the body always knows what it needs (I y’all a lot about this in my book!). I’m excited to keep taking it and see how it continues to help me.
If you’re wanting to try colostrum for your own health or performance needs, I would highly recommend choosing a 6-hour colostrum supplement, as there is less lactose content (good for sensitive individuals). I will add that I used to be lactose intolerant...BADLY. And not only did colostrum not bother me at all, but I am eating dairy with NO issues now. True story. I recommend Immune Tree Colostrum-6 (pictures above) which can be purchased on amazon in multiple sizes. NOTE: this is the former version of Anovite colostrum (Anovite is the rebranding of the same company, but they are now an MLM company which I’m not a big fan of), which is a top-notch (arguably THE best) colostrum product. It’s truly amazing! I’ll link it below if anyone is interested in purchasing.
Hope this has been helpful to everyone! I think the benefits of colostrum truly reinforce the fact that dairy and milk products are amazing for us...something I would have denied with great passion not that long ago! But The Lord has really opened my eyes to so so much recently in terms of nutrition and wellness...and the importance of a truly well-rounded diet that incorporates ALL foods. The verse I’ve held so close to my heart throughout this time has been Acts 10:15: “Do not call unclean what I have made clean.” This is such a powerful verse, especially for those of us “into” nutrition and health. We are so quick to say that certain foods (like grains, dairy, meat, etc.) are “unfit for humans” or even “toxic to our bodies,” but biology and the cycle of life says otherwise: we literally consumed milk as our very first food (correction...COLOSTRUM!). Anyway, like I said, God has expanded my knowledge in many ways recently, and I continue learning more and more through my Naturopathic Doctorate coursework, my preparations for the CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist) exam, and through Scripture...all of which I’m documenting and will be sharing in my book! Can’t wait to share it with all of you.
May God bless you this week and may you feel His presence in whatever way you need to. Sending love and prayers!
Anna Johnson, CPT/CYI/CArTh/CPI/D.Sp.