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Written by Dr. Mark Grabowsky
Colostrum has been edging its way into the world of health and nutrition lately, and for a good reason. This substance is packed full of antibodies, nutrients, and immune factors that can support a healthy gut, along with many other impressive benefits.
Before getting into the specific benefits of colostrum for a healthy gut, let’s make sure we understand what colostrum is.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is a type of milk (sometimes referred to as “first milk”) and is produced by all mammals during pregnancy, including humans. The macronutrient breakdown (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) differs somewhat depending on the animal producing it, but in general, colostrum is higher in both protein and fat than normal milk. Colostrum is highly concentrated in antibodies and key nutrients that work to protect newborns.
Bovine colostrum (from cows) is now included in certain supplements and foods for special dietary use and can be incredibly nourishing and beneficial for human consumption.
Let’s dig into the benefits of colostrum for gut health, as well as specific benefits for diarrhea.
How does colostrum benefit gut health?
Our gut (otherwise known as our intestinal or digestive tract), carries out many important functions in the body. It is responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients from foods and eliminating waste products. It also plays a role in detoxification processes. Many people are surprised to know that over 70 percent of our immune system is housed in the gut.
Your gut’s health can be altered in many ways, but some common factors include overuse of antibiotics or NSAIDs (certain pain medications like ibuprofen), GI infections, parasites, food allergies and intolerances, and a poor diet.
Initial studies suggest that bovine colostrum can support your digestive tract. One main reason for this revolves around a protein called secretory IgA (or, sigA), which is an antibody that is a key player in immune function. Studies show that low levels of sigA can potentially lead to autoimmune diseases (such as Crohn’s disease), along with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ulcerative colitis and less severe issues such as diarrhea.
Colostrum can increase levels of sigA in the body, supporting optimal gut maintenance and repair, along with immune health.
About Dr. Mark Grabowsky
Dr. Grabowsky holds a medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.