Have you heard about this supplement – the colostrum powder? Some may be wondering if you also get colostrum powders in the market. If you have not heard about the colostrum powder, let us have a look at it!
Before we jump into colostrum powder, lets know what is a colostrum?
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the milky liquid produced by the mammals like humans, cows, elephants and dolphins etc during the first few days of postpartum. It is said that the colostrum contains high nutrient content and also contains high content of antibodies which may help them to fight against various bacteria or infections.
For the newborns, colostrum is one of the most essential as well as important superfood. Science with its various kinds of studies has proved that there is no substitute to the colostrum being fed to the young ones. You might seen that when a baby is born in your family, they recommend the mother to fed their young ones with breast milk within few hours of the baby’s birth. Many would also be aware of the calves being fed with milk and the calf is also allowed to be licked by the mother cow just after its birth in order to increase its immunity.
The colostrum has a major protein called the “lactoferrin”. The lactoferrin is a natural multi-functional protein which is essential to improve immunity as it is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral agent. This colostrum is produced for about 3-4 days in humans and cows.
What is colostrum powder?
Colostrum powder is the powdered form of the colostrum being produced from liquid form. You might be having further questions on how the colostrum milk powder is produced? There takes place two steps for the colostrum to be converted into powdered form. They are –
- Heat treatment – This key procedure is a multiple-step, proprietary process that achieves pasteurization equivalence without damaging any of the important immune, anti-microbial, and growth factors or nutrients found in colostrum. Carefully timed heating and cooling cycles are both applied under strict controls. Testing is done both during heat treatment and on the final products to ensure that pasteurization equivalence has been achieved and key colostral components are intact.
- Spray drying – This carefully controlled procedure turns the liquid colostrum into a fine powder that is stable for prolonged periods.
Usually the grass fed colostrum of cows are consumed by people as a supplement which is known as Bovine colostrum. It is considered to be very nutritious as well as beneficial to humans to improve health. Though there are quite a few research and studies that has stated the benefits of consuming cow colostrum powder as a supplement. But, much more research and studies are yet to be taken place and proved completely to ensure that the benefits of the bovine colostrum acts as the best natural immunizer and health enhancer.
Nutritional components of bovine colostrum which is basically grass fed colostrum
- IgG – neutralizes toxins
- IgM – controls the antibody response
- IgD – antiviral agent
- IgE – regulates allergic response
- IgA – antiviral, antibacterial agent
- Lactoferrin – antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
- Lactalbumin – improves mood
- Epidermal growth factor (EGF) – helps to protect and maintain skin
- Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) – healing agent
- Growth hormone (GH) – regulates growth, anti-aging property
- Insulin – maintains blood sugar
- Vitamin B6 – utilizes amino acids
- Vitamin B12 – development of red blood cells
- Vitamin E – antioxidant
- Vitamin A – antioxidant
- Calcium – maintains strong bones, teeth
- Iron – stores and transports oxygen
- Potassium – lowers blood pressure
- Histidine – tissue repair
- Valine – regulates energy
There are much more components in the bovine colostrum or the cow colostrum. But, here I have mentioned a few for your reference.
Uses of colostrum powder
- May be used to treat diarrhea.
- Reduces the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood after undergoing surgery.
- Prevents the damage to gastrointestinal tract caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- May be used to treat distal colitis.
- Enhances the growth and development of bone.
- May reduce the colonization of candida in people undergoing bone marrow transplant.
Benefits of colostrum powder
- Increased energy.
- Reduces the risk of upper respiratory infection.
- Protects the intestines from damage by anti-inflammatory medications.
- Helps the body to burn fat and increase muscle density.
- May also maximize the fat reduction and muscle-enhancing benefits.
- May promotes the muscle growth.
- May act as a healing agent.
- May increase stamina.
- May act as an anti aging agent.
- May act as an detoxifying agent.
Side effects for people with lactose intolerance
As colostrum milk powder contains the content of lactose in it, it cannot be beneficial to people with lactose intolerance. The severity of the reaction may depend on the percentage of intolerance to lactose.
Bovine colostrum powder for infants?
We always prefer the best of all, when it comes to our infant. The infants are fed with only breast milk until the age of 6 months. Once the baby starts to grow elder, it requires more nutrition in the food.
For about 2-5 days the mother will produce only colostrum. And your infant will require hardly 1-1.5 teaspoon of milk to fill its stomach in the initial days. Until and unless you feel that you have to supplement colostrum to your infants in the further days, you may.
As there are no enough studies to prove that cow colostrum as nutritional as the human colostrum for infants, ask your family doctor before you use colostrum as a supplement to your infant.
Bovine colostrum powder for adults?
Colostrum milk powder which is basically a grass fed colostrum is also high in protein and contains few number of substances which becomes beneficial for the immune system. Preliminary studies conducted about the effects of colostrum supplementation shows its potential for increasing human exercise performance. However, more evidence is required to confirm effects and to understand mechanisms of its action. It benefits the adults by these following factors –
- muscle mass
- blood levels of growth factors and markers of inflammation
- urine levels of muscle and bone catabolic markers
- tests the cognitive ability
- greater increases in blood IGF-1 levels
- greater reductions in inflammation
Except people with lactose intolerance, there is no side effects of consuming colostrum milk powder for adults when they do not take in excess.
Bovine colostrum powder for pregnant women?
Pregnancy – A start to an incredible journey of a beautiful feeling!
You may have various questions regarding your pregnancy diet. Your mom or grandma will always be suggesting you have a healthy diet during your pregnancy as the baby gets developed well according to your diet plan and positive attitude.
But the information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking for the consumption of cow colostrum powder during pregnancy.
Bovine colostrum powder for pets?
Pets too are a member of your family and its natural that you care for their them, may it be the discomforts they face or the good diet you want to provide them. Talk to the veterinarian first. If you wish to provide cow colostrum powder to your pets, give half the recommended dose and wait if the pet has any adverse effect due to the consumption of colostrum milk powder.
The cow colostrums are available in powdered form, gel caps and capsules as well. Dosages or the serving sizes can vary from one person to the another. Athletes take about 20-60 gms of cow colostrum powder that is basically grass fed colostrum in order to improve their athletic performance. A healthy individual can start with ¼ th teaspoon of the cow colostrum powder and can further increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon.
Shelf life of colostrum powder
The cow colostrum powder should be stored in a dry, cool place and should be stored in an airtight container. You may refrigerate it for about 2 years of time.
According to the limited human research, bovine colostrum generally appears to be safe for most people. Though it may have some downsides of consuming. As mentioned above that people with lactose intolerance should not consume bovine colostrum. Products may also be made with additives that can include other common allergens like soy.
It also depends on how and where the cows are raised. As per these conditions the bovine colostrum may also contain antibiotics, synthetic hormones etc. Added to it, some people may be concerned about the ethics of how the bovine colostrum is sourced and whether it’s taken from calves that need it. It is better to purchase the colostrum milk powder which can be a grass fed colostrum from a known source because you can contact them for any queries.
Though there are many benefits of consuming bovine colostrum, still more number of research is needed to know its actual benefits and effects.
Lastly, taking bovine colostrum powder is up to you! Always consult your family doctor before you start consuming colostrum milk powder as a supplement because he/she will know the aspects of your allergens and body reactions towards other compounds.