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Is Colostrum the New Collagen? We Asked an Expert

While we’ve been getting a man-glow by noshing collagen snacks, a new superfood called colostrum crept into the game, which may have collagen beat.

Oddly enough, colostrum is the first food a mother creates for her offspring, which helps them thrive outside the womb. But we’re not talking about the potential of taking human colostrum. Instead, bovine colostrum has been the subject of new research that believes this superfood can improve skin health, athletic recovery, and even immune health. Some people are calling it “liquid gold.”

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To figure out what colostrum is all about The Manual sat down with Dr. Michael Roizen, the Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic to get the details.

Collagen vs. Colostrum

First of all, since colostrum is often compared to collagen let’s go over what collagen is.

Collagen is a protein in the human body, found naturally in bones, muscle, teeth, and hair. Collagen peptides have become a popular supplement that people believe can improve skin health and – for men in particular — contribute to better muscle mass and strength.

We generally consume collagen supplements in pill or powder form, mixed into foods, drinks, or smoothies.

Which leads us to colostrum…

Cow Colostrum

Dr. Roizen says, “Colostrum is known as ‘nature’s superfood,’ and has historically been associated with human breastfeeding as the first form of food a mother provides her newborn. It’s packed with nutrients and is essential for newborns to help build and support their immune systems. Although it’s well established as a necessity for early life nutrition, substantial research has shown its components continue to play an important role in maintaining health throughout all stages of life.”

Obviously, we’re not going to source adult-consumed colostrum from breastfeeding humans, but we will from dairy cows.

Still iffy about the process? Let’s talk benefits.

Benefits

“Research on colostrum from cows indicates bovine colostrum promotes and helps maintain a healthy immune and a GI system that is very unaffected by the usual adverse effects of NSAIDs (non-steroidal drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen) on the GI,” says Dr. Roizen. In other words, it has more of a probiotic effect than collagen, really.

He adds that “Colostrum naturally contains important and diverse probiotics important to gut health and contains immune and growth factors. It’s safe for consumers to couple both colostrum and probiotics into their daily diet to help colonize the bacteria and stimulate strong gut health.”

The bovine colostrum we’ve been talking about can help support digestive health including gut barrier integrity and function with issues such as leaky gut. Not sure if you have those? Check for symptoms like bloating, gas, digestive issues, and food sensitivities, then skedaddle to the doctor’s office to verify.

Cow colostrum has also been shown to support the body in fighting off bacteria and other nasty invaders while being beneficial for respiratory health. “Many studies have found that it significantly decreased the risk of upper respiratory tract infections,” Roizen says.

Athletic Application

Yes, we did mention colostrum may help you get big and strong also. Guys may want to start taking colostrum as an athletic supplement. Roizen points to research showing that bovine colostrum supports stronger, faster athletic recovery.

Going hard in a workout can also lead to leaky gut issues and other gut stressors, but colostrum may help with that.

In a study from The European Journal of Nutrition, professional soccer players on a training regimen who consumed 3.2g of bovine colostrum a day for six weeks showed a dramatic increase in athleticism including increased squat jump height, increased countermovement jump height, and decreased blood levels of markers related to muscle damage.

Dosing

Dr. Roizen says to consult your doctor, but most brands recommend 2 capsules a day (1,000 mg) or 3-5oz. with one dose in the morning and a second in the afternoon to ensure your body absorbs the nutrients.

Taste

Word on the street is that colostrum doesn’t have a strong taste directly associated with it (unlike a lot of collagen). For those who are sensitive to taste, maybe grab it as a powder you can mix into smoothies, yogurt, guacamole, or hummus.

How to Buy It

It may sound futuristic but colostrum is here now to purchase as a dietary supplement for both kids and adults. Expect to find it in powder, capsule, or chewable form both online and in supplement/health stores.

Cost

Brands differ, but supplements, in general, aren’t cheap. Dr. Roizen says you can find good colostrum for anywhere between $20-$50 on marketplaces like Amazon. Be a good Samaritan and write a review if you find one you love or hate.

Any Side Effects?

Colostrum naturally occurs in food, so the term “side effects” is wrong. (i.e. are there side effects to ice cream?). Dr. Roizen says, “the safety of colostrum has been clinically demonstrated in adults and children as young as one year. Because it is a dairy product, colostrum is not recommended for people with dairy allergies.”

Want more about men’s supplements? Check this guide.

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