Colostrum isn't just for babies. Here's why

Did you know that August is National Breastfeeding Month? If not, you're not alone. Unless you are a new mother or a mom-to-be, it's probably not something on your radar. Still, according to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, breastfeeding is how 83 percent of us get out start in life. The very first form of breast milk a mother provides her newborn is something called colostrum, a naturally occurring substance that is full of nutrients and antibodies that help an infant make that difficult transition from the warm, safe womb to the outside world.

A fact that few are aware of, however, is that colostrum produced by other mammals can also be extremely beneficial for adult humans. We spoke with Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, and he gave us a rundown on why you just might want to consider adding a bovine colostrum supplement to your daily diet.

A bovine colostrum supplement supports human health

Roizen says that colostrum could be called "nature's original superfood, "since it contains numerous antibodies, growth factors, immune factors, and other nutrients that can "help to jump start gut function, the immune system and a health microbiome in the first few days of life." He explains that cows also produce colostrum to nourish their young. But he adds that "cows, unlike humans, cannot pass key immune factors from the mother to the baby during pregnancy, [so] bovine colostrum has a higher, more potent, concentration of several key components, including IgG." This means that bovine colostrum supplements offer a number of health benefits to adults, with Roizen citing studies showing how bovine colostrum helps promote a robust immune system, as well as supporting digestive and respiratory health.

According to Roizen, colostrum doesn't necessarily affect adults differently than it does babies, but that rather it supports the different health needs that each group has. As far as its safety, he clarifies that "colostrum is not a drug but a naturally occurring food," and states that the bovine version of colostrum has been shown to be safe for children as young as a year old. He cautions that anyone with a true dairy allergy may need to avoid these supplements and that women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their physicians prior to taking bovine colostrum. But overall, he thinks the majority of us could stand to benefit from using such supplements.