What is colostrum?
First, what is colostrum? Colostrum is the first milk that all mammals produce when they give birth. It is a complex liquid that nature designed specifically for the unique needs of the newborn. It cannot be made artificially or by using man made formulas. While colostrum’s original purpose is to provide a concentrated source of nutrients, energy and immune-boosters to newborn animals, Bovine colostrum is beneficial as a health supplement for cats and dogs of all ages.
Why should I feed colostrum to my pets?
Colostrum provides a range of natural growth and immune factors that work to optimize the immune system, the health of the gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, musculoskeletal system, and skin and coat health. As your pet ages, the body gradually produces less of the immune and growth factors that help them maintain and support health. In aging and senior pets, colostrum helps to maintain normal body function and a state of health. It also provides a form of additional energy. For working and performance pets, colostrum delivers a source of key factors that work to support natural stamina, endurance and normal recovery.
Uses of colostrum
Colostrum can be useful in the treatment of IBD, gastroenteritis, colitis, diarrhea, absorption deficiencies, pancreatitis, constipation, and food allergies. In addition to these, colostrum also provides immune-boosting, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal support to healthy cats and dogs.
Colostrum and allergies
Allergy symptoms occur when the immune system overreacts to the presence of a substance (an allergen) that’s not normally considered to be of danger to the body. When a dog is hypersensitive to one or more allergens, the body assumes it’s being invaded by something nasty and calls up the defense forces to neutralize the offending substance. Unfortunately, the release of histamine during this response produces unwelcome symptoms such as itchy, irritated ears, scooting, itchy feet, hot spots and breathing difficulties.
Colostrum contains a hormone called Proline-Rich-Polypeptide (PRP). This hormone can either stimulate an underactive immune system or in the case of allergies and autoimmune diseases, regulate an overactive immune system. PRP’s ability to reduce allergic symptoms is thought to be partly due to inhibition of the white blood cell and T-cell overproduction that’s normally associated with allergies. PRP is also thought to help create special cells (helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells) that can suppress and switch off the immune response. Other studies have shown that PRP is highly anti-inflammatory, which helps not just with allergies, but other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Colostrum and leaky gut
Most of the immune system function happens in the gastrointestinal (or GI) tract. One of the major benefits of colostrum is its ability to control the health of the GI tract and seal the lining so undigested food can’t pass through and cause inflammation and allergy symptoms. There are several recent studies that show colostrum can help reverse gut irritation and the chronic health issues it can cause including yeast. Because colostrum contains probiotics and has antibiotic activity, it can help restore a healthy gut flora, which is key to healing leaky gut. For more information on Leaky Gut, read our blog post.
Colostrum and illness
A 2007 study showed that colostrum was three times more effective than the flu vaccine in preventing the flu. The same immune-boosting properties that help prevent and treat cancer and allergies can also protect your dog from viruses such as bordetella (kennel cough), parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease and more.
Colostrum and would healing
Colostrum contains growth factors, which help the newborn grow and develop. These same growth factors can stimulate wound healing. Studies show that when applied externally, colostrum can speed wound healing, skin growth and cellular repair. Colostrum also contains antibacterial properties, which will prevent and heal infections.
Topically, colostrum can be used for:
- Dermatitis and skin infections
- Gingivitis and oral infections
- Ear infections
- Insect bites
- Surgical wounds
To use colostrum topically, mix the powder with distilled or sterile water until it forms a paste, and apply it directly to the infected area.
Colostrum and cats
Colostrum isn’t just for dogs! Add some to your cats diet as well and allow them to reap the same benefits!
In conclusion, colostrum is a versatile superfood which is beneficial to animals of all ages and life stages, and supports a wide variety of conditions. It is a palatable and easily-digested addition to your pet’s healthcare regime. Try colostrum with your pet to experience its wide range of benefits.