What Is Colostrum?

What Is Colostrum?

This is part of our ongoing series to help consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!


Colostrum (also known as Bovine Colostrum, Bovine Immunoglobulin, Bovine Lacteal Compounds, Colostrum Bovin)

What it is:

Colostrum is the “first milk” produced by all mammals late in pregnancy through the first few days of feeding. Bovine colostrum comes from cows.

What it does:

In order to meet the unique nutritional needs of newborns, colostrum has a rich load of antibodies, antioxidants, immunoglobulins, growth factors, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also higher in protein and lower in fat than the milk that comes in later. You hear a lot about superfoods these days, but colostrum could be considered the original (super-est) superfood! What makes it especially unique are the bioactive growth factors and antimicrobial factors that stimulate development of the gut and provide passive immunity to fight bacteria and viruses.

Not surprisingly, it’s exactly what newborns need, but why would children or adults use a colostrum supplement? With over 2,000 studies conducted to establish its safety and efficacy, bovine colostrum has been shown to enhance immunity, prevent gut damage from some pharmaceuticals, repair tissue, muscles, and even bone, help prevent upper respiratory tract infections, balance gastrointestinal microbial flora, promote wound healing, and much more. In other words: it’s amazing! But, wait, there’s more:

  • Bovine colostrum has been used to treat illnesses in India for thousands of years.
  • In the U.S., bovine colostrum was used to fight bacterial infections before antibiotics were invented.
  • Athletes use bovine colostrum to burn fat, build lean muscle, increase stamina, and improve overall performance.
  • Increasingly, clinical trials are being conducted and doctors are using colostrum to help protect and promote health with patients who are undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, as well as those with chronic diseases.

Why we use it:

Did you know that bovine colostrum contains four to ten times more immune factors than human breast milk? The immunity-enhancing benefits of bovine colostrum are some of the most well-documented in the scientific literature, so we knew it was a must for our Immunity Defense. Plus, it’s not species-specific and its profile of immune and growth factors is remarkably similar to what you’ll find in a new mom’s breast milk, making it great for human supplementation.

Why we’re featuring it today:

Since we launched our Immunity Defense, we’ve received a couple of questions quite frequently. We thought we’d share them, just in case you were wondering the same things!

  • If I'm lactose intolerant, can I safely take colostrum? Colostrum does naturally contain a tiny amount of lactose, but it’s so little, most people who are lactose intolerant can still use it without any problems. Actually, since it has specific benefits for the gut, some people see a reduction in allergic responses! Still, as with all of our supplements, we recommend you speak to a health professional with any concerns you may have.


  • Where do you get your colostrum? Is it hormone-free? What about the newborn calves? As mentioned above, the colostrum in our Immunity Defense product comes from cows. And, no worries, the health of the newborn calves is top priority and they get all they need before any colostrum is taken for commercial purposes. As with all of our products, we work very closely with our manufacturing teams to ensure everything we source is high quality: We use one of the largest colostrum suppliers in the world, known for the quality and purity of their ingredients. All raw ingredients are required to be accompanied with a Certificate of Analysis (CofA) that proves the ingredient has gone through all appropriate testing to ensure quality and purity. If the CofA is missing or a test has failed, the batch is immediately rejected and not even allowed into the production area. Also, the colostrum is sourced from farms that certify that the dairy is free of hormones, BSE, rBGH, and antibiotics.

Still have questions about colostrum? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to find you an answer!


  • Ahmadi, M., Velciov, A. B., Scurtu, M., Ahmadi, T., & Olariu, L. (2011). Benefits of bovine colostrum in nutraceutical products. Journal of Agroalimentary Processes and Technologies, 17(1).
  • Antonio, J., Sanders, M. S., & Van Gammeren, D. (2001). The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women. Nutrition, 17(3), 243-247.
  • Brinkworth, G. D., & Buckley, J. D. (2003). Concentrated bovine colostrum protein supplementation reduces the incidence of self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in adult males. European Journal of Nutrition,42(4), 228-232.
  • Frank, J. What Can Colostrum Do for Me? What Is Colostrum Good For? Why Is It the Most Important Nutrient for the Prevention of Chronic Disease?.
  • He, F., Tuomola, E., Arvilommi, H., & Salminen, S. (2001). Modulation of human humoral immune response through orally administered bovine colostrum. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, 31(2), 93-96.
  • Korhonen, H., Marnila, P., & Gill, H. S. (2000). Bovine milk antibodies for health.British Journal of Nutrition, 84(S1), 135-146.
  • Pakkanen, R., & Aalto, J. (1997). Growth factors and antimicrobial factors of bovine colostrum. International Dairy Journal, 7(5), 285-297.
  • Playford, R. J., Floyd, D. N., Macdonald, C. E., Calnan, D. P., Adenekan, R. O., Johnson, W., ... & Marchbank, T. (1999). Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which prevents NSAID induced gut damage. Gut, 44(5), 653-658.
  • Thapa, B. R. (2005). Health factors in colostrum. The Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 72(7), 579-581.

Uruakpa, F. O., Ismond, M. A. H., & Akobundu, E. N. T. (2002). Colostrum and its benefits: a review. Nutrition Research, 22(6), 755-767.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.