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Bovine colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced by cow mammary glands during the first two to four days after giving birth. Bovine colostrum delivers growth, nutrient, and immune factors to the offspring.
Traditional uses of bovine colostrum include for eye conditions, oral health, and respiratory tract infections. The investigation of clinical effects of bovine colostrum in humans began in the late 1980s and continues today.
Bovine colostrum may be useful for exercise performance enhancement and gastrointestinal injury due to bowel disease and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although early evidence looks promising, additional study is still needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of bovine colostrum.
Hyperimmune bovine colostrum is also commercially available, and some evidence exists for its use, as well as the use of isolated immunoglobulins (antibodies). Most evidence is in support of its use for diarrhea associated with certain types of bacterial and viral infections or immune system deficiencies.
Preliminary evidence suggests that bovine colostrum may be effective for improving gastrointestinal health. More studies are needed in this area.
Bovine colostrum may be effective for improving gastrointestinal health. Preliminary evidence suggests that colostrum inhibits the adhesion or activity of certain bacteria to intestinal cells, which may help in the treatment of diarrhea. Additional study is needed in this area.
Exercise performance enhancement:
Although human study is currently conflicting, bovine colostrum may be effective for improving exercise performance. Additional study is needed in this area to make a strong recommendation.
Bovine colostrum contains immunoglobulins or antibodies that are released into the bloodstream in response to infections. These immunoglobulins may help improve immune system functions. More evidence is required before a firm recommendation can be made.
Immune system deficiencies (cryptosporidiosis):
Cryptosporidium parvum is a parasite that may cause severe, debilitating diarrhea in patients with AIDS. Preliminary evidence suggests a potential benefit of bovine colostrum in this area. However, additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Bovine colostrum that is high in antibodies to certain viruses, such as rotavirus, may help prevent rotavirus-associated diarrhea. Additional study is needed in this area.
Helicobacter pylori infection:
Based on preliminary study, use of bovine colostrum did not appear to be of benefit in H. pylori infection. Further studies are required before a strong recommendation can be made.
Bovine colostrum has been used for multiple sclerosis, although early results do not indicate any benefit. Additional study is needed in this area.
Bovine colostrum has shown potential for immune stimulation and may be useful in oral hygiene products. Currently, there is insufficient available evidence to recommend for or against the use of colostrum for this use.
Bovine colostrum has shown potential for immune stimulation, and may be helpful in treating sore throat. Currently, there is insufficient available evidence to recommend for or against the use of colostrum for this use.
Recovery from surgery:
Bovine colostrum has been studied in individuals undergoing coronary bypass operations, but no benefit was found. Further study is required before a strong recommendation can be made.
Upper respiratory tract infection:
Bovine colostrum has shown potential for immune stimulation. However, early evidence has not shown any benefit for treating upper respiratory tract infection duration, although bovine colostrum may reduce symptoms. Further studies are required before a firm recommendation can be made.