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What is Bovine Colostrum?

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  • Written By: Nick Doniger
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Bovine colostrum is the early milk from a cow produced after it gives birth. As an immune system booster, it is often taken to improve recovery after exercise. Additionally, it may improve the quality and intensity of such exercise. Bovine colostrum has also been used to promote digestive health and reduce the symptoms of aging. Taken in liquid form or as a supplement, it appears to have little to no known harmful side effects.

Any milk produced by a cow during the first two to four days after birthing a calf is labeled as bovine colostrum. This milk is rich in antibodies, vitamins, minerals, nucleosides, and many other compounds not necessarily found in normal milk. Such compounds are known to improve immune system function. Immunoglobulins, which are types of protein also found in early produced milk, may also help boost the immune system.

Many studies have been conducted in which bovine colostrum supplements were administered to athletes. Such studies suggest that post-exercise recovery was improved as a result of taking these supplements. Rigorous exercise can be very tough on the immune system, and bovine colostrum may reconcile this potential problem. It has also been shown to reduce fatigue, while increasing energy and exercise intensity.

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Relief of several gastrointestinal issues has also been linked to bovine colostrum consumption. It appears for example, to inhibit severe diarrhea. Additionally, some studies have found that it might reduce the symptoms of left-sided distal colitis when used in enema form. Other studies among animals have shown that bovine colostrum may prevent ulcerative bowel issues stemming from the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Some refer to early cow's milk as a potential "fountain of youth" substance. It may help grow and repair both ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Several anti-aging capabilities, including muscle toning, increasing density of bones, promoting skin elasticity, fat burning, and wrinkle reduction, have all been noted.

Bovine colostrum may be taken in its original liquid form or as a dry powder. The dosage may vary, as the substance varies from sample to sample in its levels of antibodies and other compounds. Typical dosages are small, generally between 10 to 20 grams (about 2.1 to 4.2 teaspoons) of dry powder, or about 25 to 125 milliliters (about 0.8 to 4.2 ounces) of liquid. Serious side effects and contradictions have not yet been linked to taking such supplements, though they may cause flatulence and light nausea for some. Further information is required on colostrum's effects on pregnant or nursing women. It may be advisable, however, to check with a knowledgeable healthcare professional before supplementing with colostrum.

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