Colostrum : What Is It & Should You Be Supplementing With It?

Colostrum is commonly known as ‘first milk’ because it is a form of milk produced in the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) towards the end of pregnancy. It’s a milky fluid that’s lactated for a few days immediately after giving birth prior to the normal lactation of breast milk. Colostrum contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals and antibodies that help to fight disease in the newborn. The antibody content of Colostrum is thought to be 100x higher than in cows milk, making it a useful substance when trying to stave off disease and overtraining syndrome, particularly in intensely exercising people.

Colostrum’s uses in sport and fitness

Bovine Colostrum (cow derived) was traditionally used to promote fat loss, building muscle and increasing stamina and vitality. Colostrum offers no risk to the validity and certification of professional athletes either because of it’s acceptance within the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The immuno-boosting properties of Colostrum makes it useful either in liquid, powder or capsule form within the sporting industry, as well as its ability to promote healing, repairing nerve damage and boosting mood…all problems associated with overtraining syndrome!

Colostrum’s Nutritional content 

Colostrum contains several growth factors including Insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2, transforming growth factors alpha, beta 1and beta 2, fibrolast growth factors, epidermal growth factor, granulocyte-macrophage-stimulating growth factor (key immunological growth factors), platelet derived growth factor, vascular  endothelial growth factor and colonyl-stimulating factor-1 (Flidel-Rimon and Roth, 1997; Playford, Macdonald, Jonson, 2000). The protein content of Colostrum is higher than cows milk as well as being inherently low in total fat!

Should you supplement with Colostrum?

Well, this is entirely your call, but I’m struggling to think of reasons as to why not. This is by no means an exhaustive review on Colostrum, but from what has been discussed I see no reason why Colostrum shouldn’t become a staple of many peoples diet. The ability to harness the high protein, low fat, and immunoprotective properties of Colostrum without having to consume a yellowey, viscous substance on a daily basis.


Flidel-Rimon, O & Roth, P. (1997). Flidel-Rimon O, Roth P (November 1997). "Effects of milk-borne colony stimulating factor-1 on circulating growth factor levels in the newborn infant". J. Pediatr. 131 (5): 748–50.

Playford, R, J., Macdonald, C, E., Johnson, W, S, (2000)."Colostrum and milk-derived peptide growth factors for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders"Am. J. Clin. Nutr.72 (1): 5–14.

WebMD, (2013). Colostrum. Retrieved 18th October, 2013, from

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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