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Colostrum is the fluid that new mothers' breasts produce during the first day or two after birth. It gives newborn infants a rich mixture of antibodies and growth factors that help them get a good start.
Although colostrum has been available since the first mammals walked the earth, it is relatively new as a nutritional supplement. The resurgence of breastfeeding in the 1970s sparked a revival of interest in colostrum for both infants and adults.
However, most commercial colostrum preparations come from cows, not humans. The antibodies a mother cow gives to her calf are designed to fend off bacteria that are dangerous to cows; these may be very different from those that pose risks to humans. Nonetheless, colostrum also contains substances that might offer general benefits, such as...
Many, but not all, studies have found that hyperimmune colostrum might be able to help prevent or treat various forms of infectious diarrhea . 1 Colostrum has also shown some promise as a sports supplement , presumably because it contains growth factors, but study results are inconsistent. 2 3 For years, people with ulcers were advised to eat a bland diet and drink lots of milk. Although this treatment was eventually found to be ineffective, according to one study in rats and a small human trial, 4 ordinary colostrum (although not milk) might help protect the stomach from damage caused by anti-inflammatory drugs. It has been hypothesized that colostrum's growth factors help stimulate the stomach to regenerate.
Weak evidence suggests that oral hygiene products...
Colostrum does not seem to cause any significant side effects. However, comprehensive safety studies have not been performed. Safety in young children or women who are pregnant or nursing has not been established.