Inflammation — Colostrum is rich in proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs), which have immune regulatory properties, appearing to restore balance and cellular functions. PRP has a regulatory activity in cytokine induction and inhibits the overproduction of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide.
PRPs also help relieve swelling by offsetting an overly active immune response and halting responses characteristic in rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. PRPs may also decrease the severity of an inflammatory disease by altering genetic expression.
The polypeptides have been shown to improve cognition and behavior in older rats, humans and chickens. Additionally, the presence of lactoferrin in colostrum plays a role on the development of inflammation. This protein plays a crucial role in iron homeostasis and has been shown to inhibit autoimmune responses that trigger inflammation. Lactoferrin is a strong antioxidant aiding the body in detoxification and helping decrease the toxic load on your lymphatic system.
Cancer — The extraordinary effect colostrum has on immunity has translated to the ability to help fight cancer. The combination of inhibiting autoimmune responses, reducing inflammation in the gut and reducing infections is part of the process. Bovine colostrum activates the production of GcMAF, responsible for repairing tissue damage and preventing the growth and spread of cancer.
Metabolism — Colostrum has also been used in patients with insulin resistance, which can lead to liver injury. In one animal study, researchers evaluated the effect hyperimmune colostrum had on hepatic injury and insulin resistance after oral administration.
Glucose intolerance and liver enzymes improved and the mice experienced a reduction in serum tumor necrosis factor, suggesting hyperimmune colostrum preparations help reduce chronic inflammation, liver injury and insulin resistance associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Healthy gut — A critical action associated with colostrum growth factors is healing and prevention of damage to the gastrointestinal lining by maintaining tight junctions between the cells. Colostrum helps reduce symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, which allows large or partially digested food proteins to pass into the body and trigger an inflammatory response.
The antibodies and lactoferrin help maintain a healthy microbiome, largely responsible for your overall health and wellness.30 Lactoferrin also acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of specific good bacteria.
Body composition — The high number of antioxidants and growth factors in bovine colostrum has made it a powerhouse for promoting muscle growth and healing ligaments and muscles after injury. Reduction in oxidative stress and overall damage after exercise has made it a supplement of choice for Olympic athletes to support their performance.
In one study, athletes increased their lean muscle mass and performance after eight weeks of using colostrum supplements. The Center for Nutritional Research states the growth factors in colostrum are used by athletes to help burn fat, build strength, shorten recovery time and prevent illness after a vigorous exercise program.
In a consensus statement, the International Olympic Committee ruled colostrum is a superfood and a legal alternative to banned substances to improve athletic performance.