Supplement Spotlight: Bovine Colostrum

Bovine colostrum seems to be quite the rage in the SIBO community these days.  In this post (and the accompanying video), I detail my personal experience using this supplement as well as some research I have examined.  I discuss both anecdotal and formal evidence in addition to precautions to consider.

I point out that it is not a good idea to purchase supplements (especially colostrum) from just anywhere- minimal industry regulation means that they can contain harmful ingredients that may actually make you feel worse!  Additionally, supplements are typically viewed as harmless by the general public, but some formulations may actually be more harmful than pharmaceutical drugs- so just be cautious!

Here’s the COLOSTRUM VIDEO – it’s a little dry, but has lots of great info for nerdy folks like myself.  Since it was made for class, I do not include my personal experience or the information on IBS/SIBO (keep reading for that!).  What I do cover in this video is the biochemistry, functions, conditions/uses, precautions, interactions, and fun facts about colostrum.

Research on leaky gut:

I was originally prescribed colostrum as a remedy for healing intestinal permeability (commonly known as leaky gut).  When I went to PubMed to look at some research, I was surprised to come across one study that actually showed the opposite effect (JUST one study though- there are plenty showing it can help with intestinal permeability caused by NSAID use).  I was surprised by the negative results of this study because in my personal experience, colostrum allowed me to tolerate more foods with less symptoms, which I had attributed to healing leaky gut.  It is also possible that colostrum’s immune-modulating properties aided in my symptomatic improvement.

Research on SIBO/IBS:

When looking into the research behind small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and colostrum, I could not find any studies looking into its benefits.  However, there has been one study conducted on the impact of bovine colostrum in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 18 individuals ages 18-80 with irritable bowel syndrome (based on Rome III criteria) were studied.  The group that was given colostrum received a Korean product called MuKoBa by mouth daily before breakfast for 4 weeks.  It is unclear what dose was given.  The 9 individuals in the placebo group received “artificial milk” (whatever that is!).  The participants were assessed by filling out symptom and quality of life questionnaires as well as having their endotoxin levels measured.  The results revealed slightly improved symptom and endotoxin levels in the colostrum group compared to the controls, but the difference did not reach a  level of statistical significance.  The authors concluded that colostrum had no benefit for individuals with IBS, but I would argue that the study leaves lots of questions unanswered.  The sample size was very small and since we do not know the dose that was used, perhaps it was too low to have much effect.  What I think we can take away from this study is that more research is needed to show whether colostrum can benefit individuals with IBS.

References:

[1] Buckley JD, Butler RN, Southcott E, Brinkworth GD. Bovine colostrum supplementation during running training increases intestinal permeability. Nutrients. 2009;1(2):224-34.

[2] Yoon JY, Park SJ, Cheon JH. Effect of Colostrum on the Symptoms and Mucosal Permeability in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Study. Intest Res. 2014;12(1):80-2.

3 thoughts on “Supplement Spotlight: Bovine Colostrum

  1. Hi, did you personally use the colostrom? And if so, at what point in your treatment process? I am in a similar situation as yourself where I flatlined 2 breath tests, but continue to have severe SI symptoms which is sheer madness! Have you considered getting an FMT done (Taymount), to help with gut healing?

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    • Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, I used colostrum personally. I used it after treating with antibiotics and antimicrobials. I did consider FMT at one point, but I had already been feeling fairly well and stable so it seemed like an extreme measure considering the lack of research available on its effectiveness in IBS.

      Like

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