WHAT IF THE secret to enhancing your immunity, brainpower, and workout performance came from . . . wait for it . . . an ingredient found in breast milk?
Some supplement makers say that their bovine-derived colostrum, a nutrient-dense milk secreted from a mammal’s breast after giving birth, can booost your immune system, burn fat, build muscle, boost focus, improve workouts, and prevent the flu better than a vaccine.
But is any of this true?
Not really. Colostrum is higher in protein and some nutrients than normal cow’s milk is. And it does contain immunity-aiding immunoglobulins.
That’s kind of it though. Those other claims just don’t have enough research behind them.
“Consuming colostrum will have no significant impact on immune-system function,” says Andrea Love, Ph.D., an immunologist. Yes, colostrum may have research-backed benefits for infants, but adult GI systems are way different.
And no supplement prevents the flu better than a flu shot.
There’s more bogus, stuff too: No research shows that colostrum burns fat. Supplement makers argue that it has IGF-1, a muscle-building compound, but adults break it down before it reaches the muscles, rendering it useless.
The few studies that have analyzed colostrum’s effect on exercise performance and recovery have been inconclusive.
There is also no evidence that colostrum supplements help prevent illness/disease
or replace any other sort of preventive healthcare measures,” says Love.
While these supplements have been determined to be safe, their potential benefits in adult humans have not been proven.
So mooooove on.
A version of this article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of Men’s Health.
Abby Langer, RD is the owner of Abby Langer Nutrition, a Toronto-based nutrition consulting and communications company.