A Healthy Gut = A Healthy You by Dr. Lauren Crosby

The importance of digestive health for overall health 

By Lauren Crosby MD, FAAP | Board-Certified Pediatrician

Digestive health. What does that phrase really mean, and why is digestive health so important? In honor of World Digestive Health Day, we’re taking a look into the importance of gut health. The digestive system plays a major role in your overall health, as it is responsible for breaking down the food you eat and absorbing nutrients from that food. But what many people do not know is that the digestive system also plays a major role in immune health, since 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. If your digestive system is not functioning well you may suffer from uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, bloating, and indigestion, as well as other complications related to an unbalanced immune system. All of these can impact your overall health and wellbeing.

 

When your digestive system is not working well, you just don’t feel well. The good news is that having and maintaining a healthy gut is an achievable goal. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and avoiding processed foods, as well as minimizing the use of antibiotics, can all make a big difference in the health of your gut. But, a healthy digestive system truly starts when life starts -- with colostrum. Colostrum is the first fluid that breastfed babies receive and provides all of the nutrition a newborn needs during the first few days of life. It is crucial to supporting a newborn’s digestive health because it contains prebiotics, protective proteins, immune factors, and growth factors, in exactly the right amounts to ensure a baby grows and thrives.  

 

The Benefits of Colostrum

Let’s break down the components of colostrum and how they work. 

  • Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping to create a balanced and healthy microbiome. 
  • Immune factors and protective proteins help support the immune system.  
  • Growth factors help support the gut’s natural repair process and strengthen the protective lining of the gut. 

 Of course, this is great news for a newborn baby but production of colostrum is fleeting, only lasting a few days. Figuring out how we can continue to benefit from colostrum beyond the newborn period is something that scientists have been studying and researching for many years. 

 

Cow Colostrum for Human Health 

It turns out that cows also produce colostrum, well in excess of what a calf can consume. Once the calf has received all it needs, the excess can be collected for other uses rather than disposed of as is typical of most dairies. Research has demonstrated that cow colostrum can play an important role in supporting the digestive health of humans of all ages. Cow colostrum is almost identical to human colostrum in terms of its makeup, and because human and cow colostrum contain so many of the same components, the way they work in the gut is highly similar as well.

 

Cow colostrum has been clinically demonstrated to support digestive health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and supporting the gut’s natural repair process. Fortunately, we are now able to package the benefits of colostrum so that both adults and children can benefit beyond the newborn phase. With the regular consumption of a colostrum supplement, you can help maintain a healthy digestive system and feel good! 


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