Colostrum is more than just good for your patients’ bodies, it does good for you as their health care provider.
This supplement can offer a complimentary healing modality to help maintain your chiropractic adjustments and facilitate the healing process. Whether your patient has an acute injury, chronic pain, or is in need of a monthly spinal tune-up, colostrum provides numerous health benefits. Daily supplementation helps in four major areas:
- Accelerated repair and decreased recovery time after a soft tissue injury;
- Elimination or significant reduction of pain;
- Cessation of further tissue destruction by healing intestinal hyperpermeability (“leaky gut syndrome”);
- Optimization of the immune system.
Sometimes called the “first food of life,” colostrum is provided to all nursing infants by their mothers. Colostrum and breast milk give infants the best possible start in life and provide for healthy growth and development.
Beyond infancy, bovine colostrum supplements can help continue the process of cellular renewal. Bovine colostrum contains a rich mixture of components that modulate the immune system and repair and regenerate the body’s cells, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments that may have led your patient to seek chiropractic care.
Soft tissue injuries require improvements in muscle strength and a decrease in inflammation for chiropractic manipulation to be successful. These two areas are where colostrum is most advantageous. Colostrum contains a high concentration of growth factors that promote the growth and maturation of various cell types and tissues. They also help regenerate and accelerate the repair of aged or injured skeletal muscle, skin, bone, cartilage and nerve tissues.
The most significant factors for muscle and cartilage growth and repair are insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and transforming growth factors alpha and beta (TGF-α and TGF-β). Additionally, colostrum’s IGF-1 helps increase muscle mass, rev-up metabolism and burn fat for fuel when paired with regular exercise. A leaner, stronger body is less susceptible to back strain and injury caused by weak abdominal muscles and excessive abdominal fat.
Inflamed tissue causes pain, which can lead to the use of dangerous pain medications, injury aggravation and sedentary behaviors. Colostrum contains anti-inflammatory components that help reduce inflammation—and the associated pain. In particular, the proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs) regulate and balance immune response. PRPs relieve swelling by counteracting an overly aggressive immune response, such as over-production of T-cells and lymphocytes.1
Furthermore, PRPs help halt the overactive immune response that characterizes autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.2 Because bovine colostrum is all-natural, non-addictive and well-tolerated, unlike many over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, it’s ideal to getting patients on the road to recovery. And when patients aren’t experiencing pain, they’re more likely to follow through with your prescribed exercises for even quicker healing without the consequences of prolonged inactivity.
Healing the gut
Another critical action of colostrum’s growth factors, epithelial growth factor (EGF) in particular, is to heal and prevent damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract by maintaining integrity of tight junctions. The delicate lining between the GI tract and the bloodstream is one cell thick and, because it is permeable, it allows nutrients from food to gain access to the body.
The downside is that the lining can become hyperpermeable when the tight junctions loosen. This condition, commonly referred to as “leaky gut syndrome” or “leaky gut,” allows larger, partially digested food proteins, disease-causing microbes and toxins to enter the body as well. Once inside the bloodstream, the immune system recognizes these substances as foreign and mounts an inflammatory response against them. If the ensuing inflammation becomes chronic, the immune system may mistakenly attack healthy cells, which over time can lead to tissue destruction and autoimmune conditions.
Damage to the gut lining can be caused by a variety of factors, including NSAIDs, prescription pain medications, antibiotics, birth control pills, glyphosate, GMOs, poor lifestyle choices and environmental toxins. Damage can be compounded by an unhealthy microbiome in which beneficial bacteria are unable to keep pathogenic bacteria in check.
Colostrum’s immunoglobulins, antibodies, lactoferrin and other immune-modulating components can help maintain a healthy microbiome.3 When the GI lining is strong and the microbiome is healthy, the body can make good use of the foods and nutrients consumed and help maintain an optimally functioning immune system. Bovine colostrum is the only natural substance that has been clinically proven to heal damage to the intestinal lining and prevent intestinal hyperpermeability.4-6
Bovine colostrum contains more than 200 growth factors and immune-modulating components (such as the aforementioned PRPs) that function synergistically to help the immune system do its job more effectively.
PRPs can stimulate an underactive immune system to seek out and destroy viruses and bacteria to prevent infection. They can also tone down an overactive immune system, such as in the case of autoimmune conditions, to prevent further damage caused by excessive inflammation.
Note that when prescribing bovine colostrum as an adjunct therapy, for it to be effective its healing components must be bioavailable. The infant’s digestive system does not contain harsh stomach acids the way an adult’s digestive system does. The immature GI tract plus the natural lipid coating on mother’s colostrum guarantees maximum benefit for the infant.
But when raw, fresh bovine colostrum is processed into powder form, it loses the lipid coating that otherwise protects it from being digested in the adult’s stomach, and it becomes more like powdered milk. Thus, it is critical that the lipid coating be restored.
The reapplication of lipids preserves the growth factors and immune-modulating components, making it as close to raw, fresh colostrum as possible. Colostrum with maximized bioavailability has greater efficacy, such that adults can reap the healing benefits of this supplement.
Douglas A. Wyatt, JD, is a leading authority on bovine colostrum, and as founder of Sovereign Laboratories is credited with establishing the gold standard in processing raw bovine colostrum into supplements. Wyatt was an early developer of liposomal delivery for enhancing the bioavailability of colostrum and other nutritional supplements. He can be contacted through colostrumtherapy.com.
1 Rona Z. Bovine colostrum emerges as immune system modulator. American Journal of Natural Medicine. 1998;5(2):19-23.
2 Feldmann M, Maini RN. The role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999;38 Suppl 2:3-7.
3 Artym J, Zimecki M. Milk-derived proteins and peptides in clinical trials. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2013;67:800-16.
4 Playford RJ, Floyd DN, Macdonald CE, et al. Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which prevents NSAID induced gut damage. Gut. 1999;44:653-658.
5 Blais M, et al. A gene expression programme induced by bovine colostrum whey promotes growth and wound-healing processes in intestinal epithelial cells. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014;3:e57.
6 Hałasa M, Maciejewska D, Baśkiewicz-Hałasa M, et al. Oral Supplementation with Bovine Colostrum Decreases Intestinal Permeability and Stool Concentrations of Zonulin in Athletes. Nutrients. 2017;9(4)pii: E370.