Bovine Colostrum Supplements
Learn more about the potential benefits of bovine colostrum (BC).
What is Bovine Colostrum?
Bovine colostrum is the premilk liquid (beestings, bisnings, or first milk) produced from the mammary glands of cows during the first 24 to 48 hours after giving birth. During this period the milk produced by a cow has a higher content of certain immune, growth and antimicrobial factors than standard milk. The purpose of bovine colostrum is to provide transfer of immunity and growth factors from the cow to the calf during the early stages of development.
Bovine Colostrum Supplements (Protein Powders)
Bovine colostrum is primarily available as a supplement, because there are only a few producers (dairy farms) that market raw bovine colostrum. Stand-alone, pure forms of colostrum supplements are available for purchase, but colostrum is by far the most expensive protein powder.
Bovine Colostrum vs Other Types of Protein
Bovine Colostrum Advantages
Bovine colostrum has greater nutrient density and higher protein quality than traditional dairy milk. For example, the PER* of bovine colostrum is about 3.0, which is higher than the PER of beef, fish, poultry (2.0-2.3), and soy (1.8-2.3) and compares favorably to that of egg (2.8), milk protein (2.8), casein (2.9), and whey protein (3.0 to 3.2).
Bovine colostrum has a relatively high concentration of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), growth factors (IGF-II, transforming growth factor [TGF] β), immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM), and antibacterials not found in other sources of protein.
Bovin colostrum has several differences and advantages over typical milk:
- It is higher in protein and antibodies.
- It is lower in fat and sugar.
- It is higher in vitamins and minerals.
- It contains significant amounts of immune factors already mentioned above.
*PER: Protein efficiency ratio;
Benefits of Bovine Colostrum in Bodybuilding
Preliminary evidence indicates that bovine colostrum may promote faster muscle recovery, gains in strength and muscle mass during training than whey protein. In theory, ingesting these undeniably bioactive compounds (growth factors, immunoglobulins, and antibacterials not found in other proteins) could promote greater muscle growth triggered by weight training. More research is needed before definitive conclusions can be made.
Bovine Colostrum Health Benefits
Colostrum was specially designed by nature to protect, activate, regulate, and to support out immune system.
Colostrum contains all four of the key Immunoglobulins: IgM, IgG, IgA and secretory IgA. These immunoglobulins are equipped with special adaptive sites which are effective at neutralizing a wide range of bacteria, viruses and yeasts. They include antibodies specific to fight disease-causing microorganisms.
Bovine colostrum seems to be likely safe for most people when taken appropriately by mouth. No significant bovine colostrum side effects have yet been reported in the medical literature.
Bovine Colostrum Recommended Dosage
Bovine colostrum is a difficult preparation to standardize because its antibody content may vary widely. Some clinical studies have been performed with hyperimmune colostrum, which may have a specific antibody titer; however, most products do not meet this criterion. Studies administering 25 to 125 mL of liquid formulations or 10 to 20 g of dry powder have been reported.
Summing Up (Conclusion)
Bioactive compounds found in bovine colostrum may strengthen the immune system and promote growth. For this reason, bovine colostrum has been marketed as a unique source of quality protein, growth factors, and immunoenhancing compounds in numerous food products (e.g., infant formulas, protein supplements). Colostrum is by far the most expensive protein powder.