What are the health benefits of colostrum? What is colostrum? And what is bovine colostrum? What is colostrum supplement used for?
Do you know why mothers are advised to feed their newborns with their first milk? The major reason is because newborn babies are prone to infections and germs attack. Furthermore a newborn baby's stomach and intestine is unfamiliar with baby or infant formula.
The first milk produced by women and other mammals is called colostrum. It is thick, yellowish in color and comes out in a very small amount. But it is just right for a newborn because the baby's stomach is very small and the intestinal tract is very delicate and sensitive. The colostrum will last for a few days and the baby have to be fed many times a day. By the time the new mother produces mature milk her baby is ready for it.
The colostrum from humans and mammals has antiviral and antibacterial properties. When a baby feeds on her mother's colostrum, she will build her antibody. It also has a laxative effect. It helps the baby to pass her early stool and excrete bilirubin in the bile and therefore, prevents jaundice.
The health benefits of colostrum come from the nutrients in the first milk. Colostrum contains Immunoglobulin A or IgA, lactoferrin, polypeptide, cytokines, leukocytes and vitamins. Immunoglobin A is an antibody. Its main function is to protect the mucus membranes and prevents or fights infections in the respiratory system. Lactoferrin is a type of protein with antimicrobial activity. Polypeptide and cytokines are also some form of proteins. Leukocytes are white cells that stimulate the production of a protein called interferon and protect a mother's breast against invading microorganisms and her baby from viruses. Another benefit of colostrum is it helps protect newborns digestive tract.
Bovine colostrum is the first milk of cows for their newborn calves. Studies have shown that bovine colostrum contains the highest level of immunoglobin G or lgG and is about four times richer in immune factors compared to human colostrum. And because of this and many other health benefits of colostrum, humans are taking bovine colostrum supplements for strengthening the immune system and help the body fight diseases.
Studies have also shown that colostrum has growth factors. It helps in healing and repairing injured muscles, tissues and cartilage. And because of this, athletes are taking colostrum powder to boost their immune system and muscle recovery.
One of the other health benefits of colostrum supplements includes protecting the intestinal tract in fighting pathogens or organisms that cause diseases such as e coli. Colostrum also may help decrease or remove pains and swellings due to rheumatoid, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Babies won't experience any side effects from their mothers' colostrum. There are no proven colostrum side effects in adults from taking colostrum supplements. But some people may experience minor discomforts such as diarrhea, initially. It's best that you consult your doctor before taking colostrum powder or capsules especially if you are on medication.