Bovine colostrum whey comes from cows and is usually produced two to four days after they have given birth. This fluid contains a rich store of antibodies and other substances that help protect calves from infection, enhance their immune function and promote growth. Purported uses for humans include treating diarrhea, promoting overall gastrointestinal health, boosting the immune system and enhancing athletic performance. Like many nutritional supplements, it comes in many forms, but they are all similar in their contents. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says that evidence supports these uses but that not all studies produced positive results.
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says colostrum has not been associated with any significant side effects. Potential reactions include nausea and flatulence. Drugs.com notes a lack of scientific literature suggesting that bovine colostrum poses any risk of toxicity.
If you have an allergy to dairy products, do not use bovine colostrum. Signs of allergic reaction include skin irritation and rashes, trouble breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling, stuffy or runny nose, bloodshot, watery or itchy eyes, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Use in Certain Individuals
The safety of bovine colostrum for pregnant or nursing women has not been established. In these instances, check with your doctor before using any sort of supplement. Talk to your pediatrician before giving bovine colostrum to your child.
Other Safety Concerns
Bovine colostrum does not have any documented medication interactions. Besides a milk allergy, no other contraindications – instances where you should not use bovine colostrum – exist. If you take any medications or have any medical conditions, check with your doctor before using any supplement.
Staying within suggested dosage ranges can help minimize any negative effects associated with a drug or natural supplement. Drugs.com notes the following doses were used in studies: 25 milliliters to 125 milliliters of liquid extract or 10 grams to 20 grams of dried powder. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reports doses as high as 60 grams daily were used in studies examining its effect on athletic performance. The bovine colostrum used in these studies, however, was specifically formulated and is not available for sale. Whether or not the bovine colostrum products on the market would offer the same benefits is not clear.