There are plenty of supplements to help with gut healing, and bovine colostrum is one of the more random, lesser-known ones out there. I love it because it has a whole host of benefits and can really help restore gut health. Keep reading to find out what this is, why it supports your gut health, and where to find it.
What is Colostrum?
It may sound familiar because it’s the first type of milk that women produce when they are breastfeeding. This type of milk is super nutrient dense and supports newborns as the mammary glands ramp up production. The colostrum studied in humans is actually bovine colostrum, which comes from cows.
Bovine colostrum contains a few key ingredients:
- Lactoferrin: This helps regulate iron absorption and protects against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
- Immunoglobulin antibodies (IgA): This is the most abundant type of antibody in the human body and it helps protect the mucosal tissues from microbes and helps maintain gut microbiome balance.
- Growth factors: A type of cytokine that signal proteins to support cell growth, differentiation, inflammation, survival, and tissue repair.
These ingredients make colostrum a super nutrient-dense substance that helps the body repair and grow.
Colostrum has a number of key benefits that can help you when you live with an autoimmune disease. Below are the ways it can help your healing journey.
1) May Reduce Inflammation
Because of its high lactoferrin content, colostrum may help reduce inflammation. It does this by lowering cytokine IL-6, which is a pro-inflammatory cytokine. Researchers have also found that it can help lower inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
One of the mechanisms that helps with repair is Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-B). This is a regulatory cytokine that helps with a number of processes but has been shown to be beneficial for IBD. TGF-beta is one of the major growth factors in colostrum.
2) Supports Gastrointestinal Repair
When you live with an autoimmune disease, it is very common to have issues and damage to your gastrointestinal tract. Smaller studies have looked at the effect of colostrum on intestinal repair. One study found it helped with intestinal permeability related to long-term NSAID use. In animal studies, colostrum seems to help strengthen the tight junctions in between intestinal cells, reducing permeability, or “leaky gut”.
3) Boosts Immunity
Colostrum may help boost your immune system. The lactoferrin in colostrum has natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties and may be able to stop or slow down pathogen growth. In addition, lactoferrin can help increase white blood cell production and supports T-cells.
4) Reduces diarrhea frequency
Colostrum can help reduce the frequency of bowel movements with diarrhea. There have been a few randomized control trials that have looked at the use of colostrum with viral or bacteria-related diarrhea. It has benefitted those with viral or bacterial-related diarrhea, has reduced fatigue associated with diarrhea, and has helped support weight gain.
While studies are limited, you may see a benefit to taking colostrum. The best way to take this is in a supplement form. Be sure to check with your care team before starting any supplement protocol as they can interfere with medications.
Additionally, there is no recommended or studied dosage for colostrum, so work with a healthcare practitioner to find the right amount for you.
If you would like more personalized guidance on gut healing supplements or working on reducing your autoimmune disease symptoms, please contact me to set up a free discovery call. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more nutrition content for living with your autoimmune disease.