What is Colostrum

5th December 2017, Dietitian Marcus Lee, Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital

Colostrum is the first milk secreted by mammals within the first few days after giving birth. Differing from milk secreted later, colostrum is rich in lactalbumin, lactoprotein, and antibodies.

Colostrum preparations used in complementary and alternative medicine most often stem from cows (bovine) and are marketed in powder or capsule form as dietary supplements.

Intake of bovine colostrum supplements are claimed to modulate the human immune system, alleviate inflammatory diseases and their symptoms and act against cancer cells in humans.

However, there is no clinical evidence that supports the claim of beneficial effects in cancer patients.

Studies suggesting clinical benefits of bovine colostrum supplementation were generally of poor methodological quality, and results could not be confirmed by other investigators.

Bovine colostrum may provide gastrointestinal and immunological benefits, but further studies are required before recommendations can be made for clinical application.

Reference: Rathe et.al. 2014. Clinical applications of bovine colostrum therapy: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, Volume 72, Issue 4, Pages 237–254