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Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements

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Bovine Colostrum

What is bovine colostrum?

Bovine colostrum is a milky-like fluid produced by cows. It is produced during the first 24 to 48 hours after a cow gives birth, and is meant to help young calves in the first few hours after being born. Colostrum contains a variety of antibodies, growth hormones, proteins and enzymes, and is such, is considered a potentially important nutritional supplement.

Because of colostrum's high antibody content, it is believed by some to help stimulate the immune system, and may ward off some types of infectious diseases. Research has shown that colostrums may significantly reduce the symptoms of diarrhea in children caused by the rotavirus. There is also evidence that colostrums may be effective in treating diarrhea caused by other bacteria, including H. pylori and clostridium difficile. Bovine colostrum may also be helpful in preventing peptic ulcers, although more research needs to be conducted to validate this claim.

How much bovine colostrum should I take?

Because bovine colostrum is not an essential element, recommended daily allowances have yet to be established. However, many product manufacturers recommend between 1,000 mg and 4,000 mg of bovine colostrum per day to improve immune function and treat infections.

What forms of bovine colostrum are available?

Bovine colostrums is available in a variety of form, including capsules, tablets, liquid extracts and infusions, powders, nutrition bars, and some skin care products. It can be found (in one form or another) at most health food stores and many supermarkets.

What can happen if I take too much bovine colostrum? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

As of this writing, there are no known side-effects associated with taking large amounts of bovine colostrums, nor are there any well-known drug interactions. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking bovine colostrums or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Casswall TH, Sarker SA, Albert MJ, et al. Treatment of helicobacter pylori infection in infants in rural Bangladesh with oral immunoglobulins from hyperimmune bovine colostrum. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1998;12:563-8.
  • Mero A, Miikkulainen H, Riski J, et al. Effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on serum IGF-I, IgG, hormone, and saliva IgA during training. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:1144-51.
  • Okhuysen PC, Chappell CL, Crabb J, et al. Prophylactic effect of bovine anti-cryptosporidium hyperimmune colostrum immunoglobulin in healthy volunteers challenged with Cryptosporidium parvum. Clin Infect Dis 1998;26:1324-9.
  • Playford RJ, Floyd DN, Macdonald CE, et al. Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which prevents NSAID-induced gut damage. Gut 1999;44:653-8.
  • Sarker SA, Casswall TH, Mahalanabis D, et al. Successful treatment of rotavirus diarrhea in children with immunoglobulin from immunized bovine colostrum. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1998;17:1149-54.

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