What Is The Connection Between Bovine Colostrum And Leaky Gut Syndrome?

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski August 27, 2021

Our diets often fill our bodies with toxins and pathogens that damage our gut health. With how critical bovine colostrum is to health and antibodies production in calves, it is safe to say it may have the same effects on humans.

The first milk that comes in once a female mammal has progressed into pregnancy to produce milk is called colostrum. In the world of breastfeeding, colostrum is named "liquid gold". It provides a newborn with passive protection against infections, and the required antibodies to kickstart their immune system. 

Cows, like other mammals, also produce colostrum in their udders for nourishing a newborn calf. According to scientific research, bovine colostrum is comprised of antimicrobial peptides, immunoglobulins, and growth factors, nutrients that can provide healing for many gut conditions. 

For this reason, many farmers who rear cattle for business specifically rear cows to produce colostrum that they can sell at a profit. Read on to learn more about this valuable animal product and its benefits for gastrointestinal health and leaky gut.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Your gut has millions of bacteria that help in digesting food and transforming it into the needed nutrients. These bacteria are called the gut microbiota. Gut microbiota is responsible for the digestion function of the gut in breaking down the nutrients in food consumed and in supporting the immune system. 

The gut microbiota creates a barrier on the inner layer of your gut. The barrier serves as a shield between the gut and the bloodstream. It has small natural pockets that are big enough to let the small pieces of nutrients and water pass through to the organs that need it.  

However, if there is any imbalance in the makeup of the gut microbiome, it leads to many issues like diarrhea or leaky gut syndrome. 

In leaky gut syndrome, the small pockets that allow nutrients to pass through widen and cause intestinal permeability. In simple terms, it causes bigger food particles as well as toxins to enter the bloodstream. 

Years of consuming unhealthy foods and an unhealthy lifestyle lead your digestive system to ruin. Unless you take adequate measures to reverse the problem, it may lead to more severe conditions like food allergies, autoimmune diseases, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, PCOS, and diabetes. 

How Can Bovine Colostrum Be Used To Help Leaky Gut Syndrome?

While babies need colostrum to build a robust immune system and growth, research shows that even adults may benefit from consuming it. 

Bovine colostrum comes the closest to human colostrum. Although the advantages of bovine colostrum on human health are only now getting researched, in Ayurveda, this practice has been followed for a long time. 

Bovine colostrum can be consumed just like milk. If not, there are also many supplements in the market that are derived from bovine colostrum. The supplements can be found in powder or pill form for ease of consumption. 

The growth factors and the immunoglobulins in colostrum help keep the immune response of the body healthy. If you have a leaky gut, the colostrum can help in reducing the gaps in the intestinal walls and improve gut health. The nutrients in colostrum help fight the harmful bacteria in the gut and create a balance in gut microbiota.

The Health Benefits of Colostrum

In general, bovine colostrum is made up of nutrients that help heal injuries, boost the immune system, repair the nervous system, and provide general health support.

There is no doubt that human colostrum is the best thing a newborn baby can consume. However, bovine colostrum also benefits adults and children irrespective of gender. Here are a few benefits.  

Reduces Inflammation

A leaky gut leads to toxins getting released into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, the toxins also get into the gut lining, and this causes inflammation of the gut. It can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, and even continuous pressure on the bowels. The dietary intake needs to be changed to include easy-to-digest, soft foods and more protein to reduce inflammation. 

You can also consume bovine colostrum to help reduce inflammation. Bovine colostrum has a high percentage of lactoferrin. Lactoferrin levels rise whenever the gut is inflamed. There is a direct correlation between lactoferrin levels in the body and inflammation. Therefore, most doctors check stools samples to assess gut inflammation and treat the condition. 

Supports Gut Health 

A healthy gut means a healthy digestive system that fights against bacteria and viruses that may cause harm to the body. According to Harvard Health, there is a connection between the gut and the brain. Sometimes when you are anxious or stressed, you may experience several abdominal problems. On the other hand, an unhealthy gut could also affect the brain and cause anxiety or sleeplessness. 

Lactoferrin in bovine colostrum helps in healing irregularities in the gut. It also acts as a prebiotic and helps in the growth of good bacteria like bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. Lactoferrin also helps to repair damaged cells in the gut, as well as promoting new cell growth. 

As for supplementation to colostrum, many people use probiotics to boost their gut health and overall wellness.

Promotes Healing

Colostrum, even bovine colostrum, contains antioxidants, immunoglobulins, and insulin growth factors-l (IGF-l). These are vital for the growth and healing of cells in the body. Therefore, colostrum is usually recommended as a safe dietary supplement for athletes and sportspeople who strain their muscles practicing their sport. 

Research shows that bovine colostrum can fight the oxidative stress caused in the body due to exercise. In addition, the colostrum helps to heal the ligaments and muscles and retain their original structure. Another study concludes that taking colostrum supplements for 8 weeks with regular exercise helps create lean muscles in individuals who are active physically. 

Because of its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, colostrum is a great alternative to NSAIDs (pain killers). When taken over long periods of time, NSAIDs can break down the intestinal lining and lead to gut problems. Colostrum aids in the restoration of the intestine. 

Improves Immune Function

T-cells and white blood cells play a critical role in fortifying your immune system to protect your body against infections and viruses. Lactoferrin in bovine colostrum helps boost these healthy cells production and amplifies the body’s immune function. 

Usually, any infected cells stick to healthy cells and make them sick. Lactoferrin has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties that slow down the growth of these sick cells and promote healthy cells to grow. This significantly reduces instances of sickness in individuals.  

Supports Skin Health

As you grow older, your skin starts losing its elasticity causing sagging and wrinkles. There are many natural and chemical treatments to help treat age-related skin problems. However, the best solution is to use organic supplements or even topical treatments that use natural ingredients. 

Bovine colostrum has growth factors that keep cell production at the optimal level. Consuming colostrum in its natural form or even as supplements have been known to benefit overall health. However, even applying colostrum to the skin helps heal acne scars and reduce age-related damage. According to a research paper, bovine colostrum can reduce the impact on skin health even as you grow older. 

How Much Bovine Colostrum Can You Consume? 

Most cattle farmers who rear cattle for the milk or meat may also sell colostrum. However, it may be more expensive than regular milk. Although you can get benefits by directly consuming fresh colostrum, it may not be available everywhere. However, there are colostrum supplements in the market that are derived using bovine colostrum as a base. 

As a natural beverage, colostrum can be consumed like milk. While there are a few providers who provide raw milk with colostrum, a colostrum powder is the most common consumption method.

There are no strict restrictions on how much should or should not be consumed. The only hard line is that you should avoid it if you have lactose intolerance and cannot digest milk.

As with any artificial supplement, you should follow the dosage as recommended in the packaging for the products. The dosage is usually suggested based on scientific trials and other research. In general, such supplementary dosage may not be beyond a teaspoon a day. 

No matter how you choose to consume it, always opt for colostrum extracted from grass-fed cows without artificial growth hormones. In the case of supplements, try to purchase organic brands that do not use artificial additives. 


Bovine colostrum is a natural product. It is the first milk that comes in to nourish the newborn calves. The natural enzymes and other nutrients help in improving a leaky gut and provide additional protection to the digestive system. 

The nutritional benefits mentioned here are based on research that has been done into bovine colostrum in recent times. However, with more medical advances and more studies surrounding bovine colostrum, it is not hard to say that there may be more benefits for adults yet to be discovered. 

Whether you have an imbalanced gut, skin problems, or even a weak immune system consuming bovine colostrum or even supplements extracted from it, can help in managing the condition and even produce healthy cells to preserve overall health. 

Please consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski

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