How Colostrum Can Provide Benefits Through Breastfeeding and Beyond Life’s First Stages

Celebrating the Power of Breastfeeding & Colostrum

By Lauren Crosby MD, FAAP | Board-Certified Pediatrician
 

Breast milk is a breastfed baby’s first food. It is naturally designed to meet all of a newborn’s nutritional needs. It also helps to build and support a baby’s immune system as breast milk contains immune factors and protective proteins that help to fight infection. These components are present in very high amounts in the very first milk produced by breastfeeding women, called colostrum. In addition to containing high levels of immune factors and protective proteins, colostrum is also higher in protein and lower in sugar and fat than breast milk, and it provides all the nutrients a baby needs to thrive in those first few days of life. Often referred to as “liquid gold” because it is so precious and so beneficial, colostrum contains numerous components that help jumpstart your newborn’s immune system and help them fight off infection, illness, and disease.

 

The Benefits of Colostrum Through Breastfeeding

The benefits derived from colostrum and breast milk are, in part, linked to the fact that the fluids are ingested, pass through the stomach, and then head straight to the gut where the different components start to work, while other nutrients are absorbed and circulate through the body.  That process aids in the development of a balanced immune system and promotes a healthy microbiome.  Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and some types of meningitis. And having a healthy microbiome can also help decrease the risk of asthma, allergies, obesity and other chronic disease. 

 

The benefits of breastfeeding are well-known to most parents and people in general.  What is not yet well-known is that colostrum, the very first breast milk, is available to more than just newborns. Colostrum supplements, made using colostrum from dairy cows, are available to both children and adults. Interestingly, cows produce colostrum well in excess of what a newborn calf can consume, so once the calf has received all it needs, the excess can be collected for human use rather than disposed of.

 

The Research Has Proven

Research has shown that colostrum from cows can play an important role in supporting the immune health of people of all ages. Today, there are over 6,000 studies illuminating the science of cow colostrum and its applications for human health.  Clinical studies have shown that colostrum from cows is very similar to human colostrum and because it contains so many of the same components, the way it works in the body is highly similar as well. Both human and cow colostrum contain protective proteins, immune factors and prebiotics.  Let’s break down what these components do. 

  • The protective proteins help support the body’s natural defenses so they can recognize and ward off foreign invaders.
  • The immune factors help support a balanced and healthy immune response.
  • And last but not least, the prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, where more than 70% of the immune system resides.

 

The science is clear.  Cow colostrum when consumed by children and adults provides numerous health benefits and has been clinically demonstrated to support immune health by strengthening the body’s natural immune response, and supporting a healthy gut.

 

A Supplement You Can Trust

Colostrum, the first fluid produced after a woman gives birth, and the breast milk that follows are the best nutrition for a baby. Fortunately, we are now able to bottle the benefits of colostrum so that children of all ages as well as adults can benefit from colostrum, nature’s original superfood.


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