Colostrum, one of the main ingredients in our leaky gut protocol, is truly a miraculous substance. Colostrum is the first milk that is produced by all mammals just before giving birth. Compared with milk that is produced later, colostrum contains a higher concentration of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies. When newborn babies drink colostrum, it stimulates development of the gastrointestinal lining, begins to establish a healthy complement of microorganisms in the gut, and provides passive immunity to protect against disease. Interestingly, the components in colostrum from cows (bovine colostrum) are bioidentical to those in colostrum from humans and provide therapeutic effects for patients of all ages and with a variety of chronic conditions. One of the main reasons colostrum is such an effective therapy is because of its ability to help heal a leaky gut. So how does it do that?
Remember that there are 3 important physiological changes that accompany a leaky gut. First, the intestines become permeable to substances that should not normally be passed into circulation. This is because the mucosal lining and cells of the intestinal tract are damaged and inflamed. Second, there is often an imbalance of healthy and pathogenic bacteria and yeast that can further promote damage. Third, the immune system goes into overdrive, producing antibodies and other chemical messengers that create chronic inflammation and even autoimmune disease. It isn’t clear which of these changes occurs first, but amazingly, colostrum is able to address and correct all 3 of these physiological imbalances.
The growth factors in colostrum play a key role in correcting intestinal permeability. Just as they stimulate growth and development of an infant’s digestive tract, they also stimulate growth and repair of an adult’s. By stimulating cell growth, they strengthen the lining and improve the integrity of the gut. In addition, colostrum is a source of gangliosides—another compound that supports healthy gut integrity.[i]
Colostrum is also rich in oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are undigestible starches that pass through the intestinal tract and serve as a source of energy for healthy bacteria. Beneficial gut bacteria ferment these starches and flourish. More than 60 different oligosaccharides have been identified in bovine colostrum, and they have been shown to be effective in supporting digestive health in humans.[ii]
Finally, the effect of colostrum on the immune system cannot be overstated. Colostrum is extremely rich in antibodies to offer protection against disease-causing microorganisms, including those in the gut. It also contains a variety of additional immune proteins, such as lactoferrin and proline-rich peptides. These compounds stimulate an underactive immune system and calm an overactive immune system. Because of this, they are said to modulate and stabilize immune activity. This is a critical piece of correcting leaky gut. Only when the immune system is working properly can inflammation come under control and can the lining of the gut heal.
What we Recommend
The colostrum product that we use as part of our leaky gut protocol is called Full Spectrum Immunoglobulins. This product is a concentrate of peptides (proteins) derived from bovine colostrum. It is guaranteed to provide all of the compounds discussed above in therapeutic amounts: immunoglobulins, growth factors, proline-rich peptides, lactoferrin, oligosaccharides, and gangliosides. This product contains no gluten, yeast, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is safe for all ages. It is a concentrated, pure, and effective source of colostrum for anyone trying to improve digestive and overall health.