Colostrum aids digestive health: studies

Bovine colostrum is rich in immune antibodies and hailed as an excellent treatment for stomach complaints. Colostrum is the first “pre-milk” produced by all female mammals for their newborn offspring in the first 72 hours after giving birth. Colostrum supplements have been widely studied for human use.

At the Department of Gastroenterology at the Imperial College School of Medicine in London, England, researchers found that the damaging effects of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) on the gastro-intestinal tract in humans could be prevented using bovine colostrum. Researchers wanted to find a therapy that could reduce gut permeability and prevent the injuries often caused to the intestinal tract by NSAIDs. Researchers gave healthy male volunteers NSAIDS along with 125 ml of colostrum or a placebo for five days. In a parallel study, researchers gave volunteers who were using NSAIDS for medical reasons, 125 ml of colostrum or a placebo for seven days. In the healthy volunteers, those taking NSAIDS and a placebo experienced a threefold increase in gut permeability while the colostrum group saw no significant increase. Likewise, for the second group, gut permeability remained low.

In another study at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, bovine colostrum diminished the frequency of E.coli-associated diarrhea. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind study, patients were treated with bovine colostrum and then assessed for stool frequency and excretion of infecting bacteria. Compared to the placebo group, the group treated with colostrum experienced a significant reduction in their stool frequency. The researchers also noted no adverse side effects.

Sources: J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1999 Oct;29(4):452-6; Clin Sci 2001 Jun;100(6):627-33