What Are Colostrum Supplements?

by Melissa Chichester

If you spend time on social media in the health and wellness industry, you’ve probably come across marketing for colostrum supplements.

Whether in an ad or a post from your favorite wellness guru, colostrum has hit the ground running as a supplement. 

If you remember from science class, colostrum is a nutrient-rich fluid produced by mammals (including humans) in the first few days after giving birth. It’s thick and yellowish in appearance, and it provides a concentrated source of essential nutrients and compounds crucial for the health and development of the newborn. The taste and smell is similar to buttermilk.

You might be wondering, “Do I need that?” As with any supplement, the answer depends on your routine and your overall well-being. 

So what exactly does colostrum do? Let’s find out. 

Colostrum in supplements 

Most colostrum supplements are made from bovine sources. Bovine colostrum is critical to support the nutritional growth and development of newborn calves. Bovine colostrum is similar to human colostrum in that it provides a variety of biologically active proteins, including immunoglobins, lactoferrin and other factors that support the maintenance of lean muscle tissue, as well as a healthy immune system.*

Besides colostrum capsules, colostrum powders are another way to use it as a supplement.  These supplements are made by collecting colostrum, sterilizing it, freeze-drying it, and packaging it. This makes it easy to incorporate colostrum supplements into smoothies and other liquids.

Another way to incorporate colostrum into your diet is through certain dairy products. Sometimes colostrum is added to kefir, cheese, or yogurt. Whether or not colostrum is present will depend on the brand. Liquid bovine colostrum is also another option, which can be infused into drinks.

What is colostrum for? 

The research on colostrum supplements is relatively new. However, some believe it may support immune health.* 

It’s also important to consider that colostrum contains lactose, a sugar found in milk. Some supplement companies remove lactose from their formulations.

However, people who avoid lactose or do not consume milk and dairy products will likely be unable to use colostrum. Vegans and vegetarians will also want to skip out on colostrum. 

For others, as with any supplement, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating colostrum or any new dietary supplement into your routine.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.