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Bovine colostrum

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

Common Name(s)

Bovine colostrum is also known as cow milk colostrum, bovine colostrum immune milk, lactobin, LC2N, BCC (bovine colostrum concentrate), hyperimmune milk, early milk, and lactoferrin.

What is Bovine colostrum?

Colostrum is the fluid produced by mammary glands during the first 2 to 4 days after birth, before milk is produced. It is a rich natural source of nutrients, antibodies, and growth factors for the newborn. Bovine colostrum is collected from dairy cows shortly after calving.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical Uses

The use of colostrum for both medicinal and spiritual purposes has been noted in the traditional Ayurvedic medical system and among the ancient Hindu rishis (spiritual leaders) of India. At the turn of the 20th century, the use of colostrum was advocated to protect infants against both human and bovine infections. Prior to the advent of sulfa drugs and other antibiotics, colostrum was used to boost defense against immune diseases. Albert Sabin isolated antipolio antibodies in bovine colostrum in the 1950s and the first experiments with hyperimmune colostrum were conducted in the 1960s.

General Uses

Bovine colostrum may have a role in the management of HIV-associated diarrhea. Evidence is promising but weak for use in boosting the immune system, preventing infection, and in enhancing performance among athletes.

What is the recommended dosage?

Commercial bovine colostrum products are difficult to standardize because antibody content may vary widely. Dosages of up to 60 mg/day for as long as 9 weeks have been used in clinical trials.

Contraindications

Contraindications other than milk allergy have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

Well tolerated, with minor GI complaints (eg, nausea, gas) occurring infrequently.

Toxicology

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the safety of hyperimmune milks on the basis that no adverse health effects have yet been shown in clinical studies. Past concerns about the transmission of feed-borne infection of cattle have been resolved.

References

1. Bovine Colostrum. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; December 2012.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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