By Dr. Andrew Jones
Colostrum is still seen by most in the veterinary community as a ‘hocus pocus’ supplement which offers no real health benefits to your dogs or cats. Uninformed veterinarians claim that there are no studies to back it up, and that, ” it is not absorbed from the stomach of any animal after puppies and kittens reach a certain age.”
In other words the conventional sentiment is that it is a waste of time which only makes owners feel better…
But there are now several scientific studies to back it up.
Many pet owners have had some pretty impressive successes in healing their pets with Colostrum. In fact science has now found that colostrum is beneficial for 5 specific dog and cat health conditions: Protecting against anti-inflammatory medication side effects, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Immune Supportive Benefits, Weight Loss and Allergies.
What is It?
Colostrum is the mother’s first milk – and vitally important to keeping young animals healthy.
This special substance offers the newborn, several powerful immune enhancing properties.
Immunoglobulins (Ig’s). They function as antibodies and are generated by the body in response to foreign substances (antigens) such as infectious microbes.
Lactoferrin is an iron-binding whey protein found in the milk of most mammals, it contains 703 amino acids. Lactoferrin is able to bind to pathogens invading the body. It appears to play several biological roles. Owing to its iron-binding properties, it appears to be the source of iron and have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory activities.
Lysozyme is an enzyme, commonly referred to as the body’s own antibiotic, It is abundantly present in secretions such as, tear ducts, milk and colostrum. It has the ability to destroy cell walls of certain bacteria. It is able to catalyse the inactivation of a wide range of micro-organisms.
Lactoperoxidase is an enzyme present in colostrum. It possesses its own antimicrobial properties against gram-positive organisms and exhibits pH dependent bactericidal action against gram-negative organisms.
Growth Factors are substances made by the body that function to regulate cell division and cell survival.
The growth factors found in bovine colostrum include:
IGF 1 and 2 (insulin like growth factor) These growth factors are the most prevalent in colostrum and the body and is key in the reproduction of our bodies cellular tissue, this assist athletes in recovery times after events as well as after injury.
Being an IGF-rich supplement it promotes a healthy gut through turnover of the intestinal lining, increased uptake of dietary components and increased immunological performance. Gut micro flora play a vital role in digestion, nutrient absorption and immune function. If there is an imbalance in the intestinal micro flora this may upset the digestive process and impact on the immune system, the use of Colostrum can keep your gut at optimal function.
Here are the 5 most important health benefits with scientific studies to back them up.
1. Protecting against anti-inflammatory medication side effects
Colostrum and milk-derived peptide growth factors for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 72, No. 1, 5-14, July 2000
2000 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
Raymond J Playford, Christopher E Macdonald and Wendy S Johnson
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug–induced gut injury
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely prescribed and are effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal injury and chronic arthritic conditions. Nevertheless, 2% of subjects taking NSAIDs for 1 y suffer from gastrointestinal adverse effects, including bleeding, perforation, and stricture formation of the stomach and intestine .
Acid suppressants and prostaglandin analogues have been shown to be effective in reducing gastric injury induced by NSAIDs but are less effective in preventing small intestinal injury. Novel therapeutic approaches to deal with these problems, such as the use of recombinant peptides, are therefore still required.
A recent series of in vivo and in vitro studies support this idea; EGF and TGF- and TGF-ß have all been shown to reduce NSAID-induced gastric injury.
The beneficial effects of recombinant growth factors on NSAID-induced small and large intestinal injury is, however, less well documented. It was shown recently that a defatted colostrum preparation, which is rich in the growth factors discussed earlier, reduced NSAID-induced gastric and intestinal injury in rats and mice . This material was also shown to effectively reduce gastric erosions in human volunteers taking NSAIDs (J Hunter, personal communication, 1998).
Further support for this approach comes from our recent finding that this defatted colostrum preparation reduced small intestinal permeability, which was used as a marker of intestinal damage in human volunteers taking clinically relevant doses of the drug indomethacin.
Clinical trials involving patients taking NSAIDs long term are under way.
2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Studies examining the effect of administration of EGF, PDGF, TGF-ß or IGF-I in animal models of colitis have had encouraging results, and a cheese whey growth factor extract containing several of these growth factors had positive results in a similar model.
3. Many Immune Supportive Benefits
Veterinary nutraceutical medicine
Craig Taillon, Alan Andreasen
Can Vet J Volume 41, March 2000
Colostrum is used as a nutraceutical treatment for animals
of all ages to increase resistance to infection and
disease caused by a wide range of pathogens, including
bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. It is also used for
applications such as healing of intestinal lesions and
increasing the absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
The components of colostrum that convey its nutraceutical
properties are nearly identical in structure and
function among different species (11-13). This means
that colostrum from one species can be used effectively
to provide benefits to animals of other species. Bovine
colostrum is used in nutraceutical medicine due to the
relative ease with which large amounts can be collected
and processed, and its proven effectiveness when used
to treat a variety of species.
Some of the highlights from their paper:
Increase resistance to infection, heal wounds, bind iron in the intestinal tract, kill pathogens in the intestinal tract
Immunoglobulins are in high concentrations- good for killing pathogens in the GI tract- bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites
Many pathogenic bacteria require iron to grow- a component of colostrums called lactoferrin binds the iron, and moves it into the intestinal tract
It may attach to viruses, bacteria, weakening them and trigger the immune system
Certain components of colostrum, called cytokines, ( ie IL 1, 2and 6) increase and enhance B cell and T cell
Also contains growth factors, such as somatomedins, positively affect the intestinal cells, stimulating wound healing, increased absorption of electrolytes and nutrients.
Enhances immune function, prophylactic to prevent and treat disease, reduce the length and severity of established infections
4. Weight Loss
Colostrum supplementation has been shown to help increase lean body mass. Lean mass gains lead to increases in basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the energy your body needs for all its functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, hormone level adjustment and growing and repairing cells. Increased energy expenditure increases weight loss. Colostrum has a role to play in weight loss.
Shing, et al., suggest that 20 to 50 grams a day of colostrum, combined with other high-quality proteins, such as whey and casein, yield the greatest benefits.
Research has found an ingredient known as praline-rich polypeptide (PRP) in bovine colostrum; it appears to be what is helping decrease the allergy symptoms. The colostrum dose for dogs with allergies varies based on the company; I advise giving ¼ of the human dose per 20lbs daily. My supplement, Ultimate Canine Health Formula contains bovine colostrum in adequate levels for your dog.
Heal Your Pet At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
P.S. First its good news that this is becoming more mainstream. Obviously much of the colostrum that is ingested is broken down in the stomach/intestinal tract, BUT it still clearly can have certain benefits.
Such as in recurrent vomiting/diarrhea of IBD ( Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
And Especially in disease related to the gut (or from disease we have caused secondary to drugs)
My supplements contain colostrum, and IF you have yet to try them you can do so for 50% OFF
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