Have you ever heard of colostrum? As in As explained in parts 1 & 2 of this colostrum series , it is the first milk of female mammals. This potent first milk is not only important for the development of newborns, but also has amazing health benefits for the entire life of a human or mammal. In this article, part 3 of the colostrum series, we take a closer look at how colostrum affects the human intestinal flora and what scientific evidence supports this claim.
This is what this article is about:
- This damages our intestines
- Excessive sugar and fat consumption
- Processed foods
- Lack of diversity
- Antibiotics & Medications
- Colostrum as a cure for the intestines
- IgG antibodies, lactoferrin, lysozyme and cytokines, IGF-1
- How colostrum helps with digestive problems
- Study results
Did you know that more than 15% of Swiss people regularly have digestive problems? The number of unreported cases is much higher, because many people don't even go to the doctor when they have indigestion, but rather "sit it out" or accept the unpleasant trips to the bathroom as an incontrovertible fact. But digestive problems can be counteracted and intestinal health is essential for our general health.
But why are more and more people suffering from digestive disorders? Intestinal problems can particularly arise from our modern eating habits, as foods today are highly processed, rich in sugars, preservatives, unhealthy fats and chemical additives. More than 5 million people worldwide are now diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and the numbers continue to rise. Researchers even fear that our intestinal bacteria will die out.
In this article we would like to look at the causes of digestive problems as well as a natural and efficient solution to the problem - colostrum.
Species extinction in the intestines – How modern diets damage our intestines
An unbalanced intestinal flora is anything but pleasant. Bloating, stomach pain, mood swings, diarrhea and constipation – the list goes on and on. But where do these intestinal problems come from and why are more and more people affected by them?
While intestinal problems have long been labeled as "I can't tolerate that" or "I must have eaten something wrong", more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a balanced intestinal flora for general well-being. These people often opt for diagnostic procedures to check the health of their intestines. Intestinal bacteria analyzes provide insights not only into the intestinal flora, but also into possible intolerances or overgrowths of pathogenic bacteria, making them available to us today as a valuable diagnostic tool to improve intestinal health and make personalized dietary and lifestyle changes.
The result of these diagnostics is often incorrect intestinal colonization or intestinal inflammation. When you know how important our gut is to our overall health, it's frightening. It's so frightening that a biobank of endangered intestinal bacteria is being created at the University of Zurich. Because the microbes in our intestines are also threatened with extinction. The bacteria in our intestines are important for our survival and the researchers at Zurich University want to ensure the biodiversity of these microbes for the future.
Our intestinal flora plays a crucial role not only in digesting food, but also in absorbing nutrients, functioning and strengthening our immune system, and regulating inflammation in the body. Imbalanced gut bacteria can lead to digestive disorders, nutrient deficiencies, allergic reactions, obesity, and even mood disorders and depression.
Explaining the results of these diagnostic procedures is often distressing for patients. Many people are destroying their intestinal flora through nutritional trends that were actually intended to be healthy, such as liquid food, the vegan diet or unbalanced diets. These diets are not fundamentally unhealthy, but they must be viewed holistically and implemented in a particularly varied manner so that the intestines do not suffer. A long-term diet consisting of smoothies and juices, like other basic diets, can lead to leaky gut syndrome and should only be carried out for a limited time, if at all.
But it's not just nutritional trends that can harm the intestinal flora, but primarily our modern diet. The western, modern diet is the cause of potential intestinal disorders. The food we eat has undergone drastic changes over the past few decades, and these changes have significant impacts on our digestion and gut health. For example, indigenous peoples in the Amazon jungle have more balanced and diversely populated gut cultures than people living in Western cities.
Consequently, we would like to address some of these aspects of modern nutrition in the context of damage to intestinal flora:
One of the outstanding features of modern diets is the lack of fiber. Many people today don't eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Fiber, which is abundant in these foods, is crucial for healthy digestion. Fiber is not only the “broom” of the intestines that expels waste products, but it also plays a role in promoting intestinal motility. They help support the movements of the intestines and prevent constipation.
Intestinal motility refers to the ability of the intestines to move and move food and digestive waste through the digestive tract. It is an essential part of the digestive process and allows the body to absorb nutrients from the food consumed and eliminate indigestible components.
Excessive sugar and fat consumption
Another problem with modern, Western diets is the excessive consumption of sugar and fat. Because: Foods and drinks rich in sugar can cause digestive problems such as flatulence, diarrhea and disturbed intestinal flora. This is because excess sugar can increase the osmotic load in the intestines, which can lead to increased water absorption and therefore diarrhea.
Fats, especially saturated and trans fats, can slow digestion and trigger heartburn because they can reduce relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophageal sphincter.
The widely available food in supermarkets is often characterized by a large amount of processed products. White bread, fast food, chips, ready meals, etc. are foods that are often enriched with a variety of additives that can put a strain on our digestion.
Some of these additives can cause the intestines to react sensitively and cause digestive problems. Emulsifiers, flavors and preservatives in particular can disrupt the intestinal flora. A disturbed intestinal flora is characterized by an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria, which in turn can lead to digestive problems and inflammation.
Lack of diversity
A one-sided diet based on few or repetitive foods can also lead to an inadequate supply of various nutrients.
An unbalanced diet can cause certain bacterial populations to dominate in the gut while others are neglected, which can disrupt the balance of gut flora.
Antibiotics and medications
Another important factor that can negatively affect the intestinal flora is the excessive use of antibiotics and certain medications. Antibiotics are designed to kill pathogens. However, they can also kill beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Many doctors still too often prescribe bacteria-fighting antibiotics without diagnosing whether the infection is viral or bacterial. Antibiotics do not work on viruses and instead the intestinal bacteria, which can be attacked by the antibiotics, suffer.
This can lead to dysbiosis, in which the balance of the intestinal flora is disturbed. People who have had to take antibiotics or undergo chemotherapy for a long time often suffer from chronic intestinal problems because the intestinal flora has been destroyed by the medication.
Overall, a healthy diet rich in fiber, whole foods, and a wide variety of nutrients can help support digestion and keep intestinal flora healthy. It is also important to manage antibiotic and medication use judiciously, reduce stress, and avoid harmful habits such as excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption to promote gut health.
If digestive problems persist, it is advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. A particularly gentle and efficient natural remedy for addressing intestinal problems is colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk of mammals such as cows and is fundamentally different from milk as we know it.
We would like to explain why cow colostrum is excellent for curing the intestines and as a means of balanced intestinal health.
Colostrum as a treatment for the intestines and to promote intestinal health
Modern dietary habits, which are often low in fiber, high in sugar and fat, and high in processed foods, can cause significant digestive problems and are now even threatening the biodiversity of human intestinal bacteria. These problems can range from constipation to bloating, diarrhea and a disturbed intestinal flora that can become chronic.
Imbalanced intestinal flora is the main problem for most people with digestive disorders, which can arise from poor dietary habits and other factors such as excessive consumption of processed foods or stress.
Colostrum has a unique chemical and biological composition that can play an important role in combating and preventing these digestive problems.
We would now like to take a closer look at the biological and chemical aspects that make cow colostrum a true blessing for human intestinal health.
Chemical & Biological Aspects of Colostrum
Colostrum is rich in bioactive compounds such as immunoglobulins, including immunoglobulin G (IgG, also called antibodies), which are able to neutralize pathogens and toxins in the intestines. These IgG antibodies not only act as a defense against harmful microorganisms, but also have immunoregulatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the gut.
In addition to IgG antibodies, colostrum also contains other immune molecules such as lactoferrin, lysozyme and cytokines. Lactoferrin is an iron binding protein found in colostrum. It has antimicrobial properties and can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines. Lactoferrin can also reduce inflammation and strengthen the intestinal barrier. Lysozyme, in turn, is an enzyme that is also found in colostrum and has antimicrobial properties. It can weaken the cell walls of bacteria and inhibit their growth. Colostrum also contains various cytokines that may play a role in regulating the immune system and the inflammatory response in the gut.
In addition, the growth factors contained in colostrum, such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), are crucial for the regeneration and repair of intestinal tissue.
How colostrum helps with digestive problems
The immune molecules and antibodies contained in colostrum help strengthen the intestinal barrier. They bind to harmful microorganisms and neutralize them, reducing the risk of inflammation and infections in the intestines.
Colostrum can therefore reduce inflammation in the digestive tract because it contains these immune regulators. This is crucial because chronic inflammation is often a cause of digestive problems.
The growth factors contained in colostrum, particularly IGF-1, support the repair and regeneration of intestinal tissue. This is particularly important when tissue has been damaged by inflammation or other stress. Colostrum promotes the balance of intestinal flora by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting harmful bacteria.
Overall, colostrum's unique composition shows how it can be beneficial in preventing and treating digestive problems caused by modern diets and other factors. It helps strengthen the intestinal barrier, reduce inflammation, promote intestinal repair and support intestinal flora. Colostrum is therefore increasingly viewed as a valuable dietary supplement for promoting intestinal health in adults.
If you have a medical condition, it is important to use colostrum under medical supervision and adhere to recommended consumption levels to achieve maximum benefits. In addition, colostrum should only be purchased from trustworthy and certified suppliers who prioritize animal welfare and only use excess colostrum and do not heat (pasteurize) the colostrum.
Please note that it is important to consult a specialist before taking colostrum or other dietary supplements, or if you make any changes to your eating habits.
The information in this blog is for general educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
- Sienkiewicz M, Szymańska P, Fichna J. Supplementation of Bovine Colostrum in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Benefits and Contraindications. Adv Nutr. 2021 Mar 31;12(2):533-545. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmaa120. PMID: 33070186; PMCID: PMC8009748.
- Sangild PT, Vonderohe C, Melendez Hebib V, Burrin DG. Potential Benefits of Bovine Colostrum in Pediatric Nutrition and Health. Nutrients. 2021 Jul 26;13(8):2551. doi: 10.3390/nu13082551. PMID: 34444709; PMCID: PMC8402036.
- Chandwe K, Kelly P. Colostrum Therapy for Human Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 7;13(6):1956. doi: 10.3390/nu13061956. PMID: 34200282; PMCID: PMC8228205.
- Bruce, C.E.: Natural History Magazine, February 1969
- Menchetti L, Traina G, Tomasello G, Casagrande-Proietti P, Leonardi L, Barbato O, Brecchia G. Potential benefits of colostrum in gastrointestinal diseases. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2016 Jun 1;8(2):331-51. doi: 10.2741/s467. PMID: 27100711.
- Kritzinger, Franz: The quality classification of colostrum with a simple precision funnel, Munich 2017, p. 6; last accessed on September 7th, 2023
- Playford RJ, Floyd DN, Macdonald CE, Calnan DP, Adenekan RO, Johnson W, Goodlad RA, Marchbank T. Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which prevents NSAID induced gut damage. Good. 1999 May;44(5):653-8. doi: 10.1136/gut.44.5.653. PMID: 10205201; PMCID: PMC1727496.
- Colostrum has an antioxidant effect and strengthens the immune system on aerztezeitung.de, January 18, 2008, last accessed on September 7, 2023
- Przybylska, J.; Albera, E.; Kankofer, M.: Antioxidants in Bovine Colostrum, April 2007
- R. Pakkanen, J. Aalto: Growth Factors and Antimicrobial Factors of Bovine Colostrum. In: International Dairy Journal. 7 (5), 1997, pp. 285-297
- Kritzinger, Franz: The quality classification of colostrum with a simple precision funnel, Munich 2017, p. 6; last accessed on September 7th, 2023
- Klapper, DG et al: Endicrinology, June 1983
- Li Y, Juhl SM, Ye X, Shen RL, Iyore EO, Dai Y, Sangild PT, Greisen GO. A Stepwise, Pilot Study of Bovine Colostrum to Supplement the First Enteral Feeding in Preterm Infants (Precolos): Study Protocol and Initial Results. Front Pediatrics 2017 Mar 3;5:42. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00042. PMID: 28316968; PMCID: PMC5334325.