Colostrum is a food which kick starts our growth and development in life, it is what we are first fed when we enter this word, it provides us with the ultimate blend of nutrients, immune factors and growth factors; it is no wonder then that the benefits of consuming this food is now being investigated for elite athletes and the wider community in general.
While this blog concentrates on the benefits for athletes, keep in mind it can be used by everyone! Colostrum is safe to take when pregnant and breastfeeding, a time when our body can be quite suseptible and other treatment options for illness is limited. It is also safe and effective for babies and childeren helping to treat AND prevent comon colds and flus as well as assist in the treatment of allergies. As a naturopath I may also consider it for use in elderly and debilitated persons as a general health tonic as it is so nutrient dense.
Colostrum has a unique blend of immune and growth factors not present in any other food. The growth hormone factors found in bovine and human colostrum are identical except that bovine colostrum is more concentrated.
Colostrum can help:
• Increase strength and endurance • Build lean muscle mass • Burn body fat • Boost immune function
• Shorten recovery time • Accelerate healing of injuries
Increasing Strength & Endurance
A 2002 study from the University of Tasmania, reported that eight weeks of colostrum supplementation resulted in an improvement in cycling performance. Compared to their initial performance eight weeks earlier, the group taking 20 grams of colostrum per day completed the time trial 158 seconds faster whereas the group taking whey protein improved their performance time by only 37 seconds.
Building muscle & Burning fat
According to a study conducted in Finland, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a protein found in colostrum, induces protein synthesis, which leads to an increase in lean muscle mass without a corresponding rise in fat tissue.
Researchers found that exercisers taking colostrum had increased concentration of essential amino acids compared to those receiving placebo, resulting in faster recovery time following exercise (Mero, A, et al. (2005)
Colostrum is the only natural source of IGF-1, which can improve muscle regeneration in injured muscle and promote tendon healing. Additionally it increases muscle glycogen storage and improves the conversion of fats into energy, resulting in more energy, greater endurance power and fat loss.
Boosting immune function
Strenuous exercise places a tremendous strain on body systems, including the immune system. Following strenuous exercise there is a significant reduction in white blood cell count and Natural Killer Cell activity thus increasing our susceptibility to infection.
Many studies have confirmed that colostrum supplementation boosts various immunological processes in the body thus preventing infection or reducing symptoms of viral and bacterial infections. A recent study (2006) by Dr. C.M. Shing and colleagues at the University of Queensland found that supplementation with low doses (10 grams/day) of bovine colostrum over a period of normal and intense training by highly trained road cyclists significantly increases important immune responces.
Supplementing with Colostrum:
The usual recommended dosage of colostrum is 10 g daily. In studies of colostrum as a sports supplement for athletes, a dose of up to 60 g a day has been used.
Want to know more??
If this information has resonated with you and your wondering if colostrum is for you, book a consultation with me today! Yes Colostrum may be just what you need but its a good idea to have a health consultation and build a treatment plan specifically around your individual goals and requirements :-)