Bovine colostrum refers to milk produced by cows during initial few days after birthing. The product is gaining traction across a range of nutrition and health sectors as it is a rich source of many nutrients.
Compared to mature dairy milk, bovine colostrum contains around double the total solids, double the fat content, ~5-fold the protein content, and significantly higher content of most of the micronutrients. It also contains between 50-fold and 300-fold higher concentrations of immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM), up to 250-fold higher concentrations of lactoferrin, and up to double the content of other antimicrobial proteins and peptides (such as lactoperoxidase and lysozyme). It is also rich in cytokines, immune regulatory factors, and growth factors.
Sports nutrition market
A recent narrative review titled, “The Use of Bovine Colostrum in Sport and Exercise” by Glen Davison, from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent, UK, spotlights the benefits of cow colostrum for increasing gut integrity in athletes, and supporting immune function for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) among physically active individuals.
Davidson reports that there has been a great deal of interest in bovine colostrum within sports nutrition over the last 25 years. Studies have investigated the effects on body composition, physical performance, recovery, gut damage and permeability, immune function, and illness risk. He considers available evidence in each of these areas and concludes that although some studies have shown protection against performance decrements caused by periods of intensified training, there is limited evidence for effects on body composition and physical performance.
However, he reports that there is stronger evidence for the ingredient's beneficial impact on gut permeability and damage markers and on immune function and illness risk, especially during periods of intensified training.
He says: "The balance of available evidence for gut permeability and illness risk is positive, but further research is required to fully determine all mechanisms responsible for these effects."
He continues: "Early suggestions that supplementation with bovine colostrum products could increase systemic IGF-1 levels are not supported by the balance of available evidence examining a range of doses over both short- and long-term periods."
Owing to the reported benefits of bovine colostrum for immunity and gut health, various sport nutrition product manufacturers are growing incorporation of this ingredient in their products and TMR says this scenario is likely to create sizeable sales opportunities for vendors operating in the global bovine colostrum market.
The market analysts add that players in this market should be prepared for a particularly large boom in sales of the organic ingredient as conventional powders include lactose monohydrate, which can cause problems to consumers with lactose intolerance.
But this ingredient isn't only being incorporated into functional food and beverages for humans. TMR points out that colostrum is utilized in the production of animal nutraceutical products as it helps in protecting animals from various health issues caused by viruses, parasites, and bacteria from the environment.