All female mammals generate colostrum and milk to breastfeed their newborns. These two substances are distinct, offering different health benefits. So, what is colostrum, and how does it compare to breast milk?
What Is Colostrum?
Colostrum, or ‘first milk,’ is the viscous, yellowish fluid that mammals generate from their mammary glands immediately after delivery. Colostrum production starts throughout pregnancy and continues for several days after birth. The first milk is nutrient-rich and contains high antibodies, boosting newborn immunity.
You may come across the term “colostrum supplements” when you search for “What is colostrum?”. These tablets or powders are made from cow’s first milk, bovine colostrum. Due to its unique composition of growth hormones, antibodies, and proteins such as lactoferrin, bovine colostrum offers many benefits.
What is Breastmilk?
Breast milk is the fluid female mammals produce from their mammary glands to feed their young ones. The milk undergoes three stages, starting with colostrum, then transitional milk, and finally mature milk. Lactogenesis II, or transitional milk, starts two to three days after delivery as colostrum transforms into mature milk.
Proteins and immunoglobulins drop as lactose, fat, and calories rise as breast milk matures. When colostrum strains completely fade from transitional milk, breast milk becomes lactogenesis III or mature milk. This milk is less thick and whiter, but Immunoglobulins and other antimicrobial substances remain.
Mature breast milk contains higher amounts of certain nutrients that protect the newborn from bacterial and viral infections. Different proteins in breast milk encourage the growth of the infant’s immune system while fostering brain development. Breast milk also has high cholesterol and sugar levels.
What is the Difference Between Colostrum and Mature Breastmilk?
Colostrum is the initial milk that mammals’ mammary glands produce during the first 72 hours after delivery, while mature breastmilk is the long-term milk. Less sugar and fat make colostrum easier to digest than milk.
Colostrum supplies antibodies and immunoglobins for the newborn’s immune system boost and disease prevention. Breast milk contains lactose for energy, proteins to aid digestion, and fats to support brain development. The first milk is more nutritious than mature milk because it has more protein and zinc.
What Are the Benefits of Colostrum?
All infants benefit from colostrum, but preterm newborns who breastfeed immediately get healthier outcomes than those who do not. Colostrum helps the baby’s immune system develop because of its high concentration of white blood cells and antibodies. Here are other benefits of colostrum for infants:
- Thickens the baby’s stomach and intestines to prevent inflammation and infections
- Acts as a laxative to aid in the infant’s passage of meconium (black first stool)
- Contributes to the removal of toxic waste and the prevention of jaundice
- Provides the food that a baby needs to have a healthy vision, brain, and heart
- Offers complete nutrition as it is salt, protein, and vitamin-rich
- Helps prevent newborns’ low blood sugar
What Are the Benefits of Colostrum Supplements
Colostrum has benefits that go beyond the first year of life. The wealth of health-improving qualities contained in this fluid can be helpful to adults as well. Here are some reasons why adults may want to include colostrum supplements in their wellness routine:
- Boosting Immunity: Antibodies, immunoglobulins, and other immune-stimulating substances abundant in colostrum can strengthen your body’s defenses against infections and diseases.
- Supporting Gut Health: Bioactive colostrum substances promote good gut bacteria development, lower inflammation, and maintain a healthy gut lining. This may result in better digestion, more nutrient absorption, and a lower risk of gastrointestinal problems.
- Enhancing Cognitive Function and Mental Clarity: Bioactive substances included in colostrum improve the health and cognitive function of the brain. Some cognitive advantages that colostrum can offer are increased clarity, focus, and mental strength.
- Enhancing Athletic Performance and Recovery: Colostrum growth factors encourage the regeneration and repair of muscle tissue, speeding up the recovery process after strenuous exercise. Furthermore, colostrum’s energizing nutrients support increased stamina and energy levels throughout physical activity.
- Promoting Healthy Skin: Colostrum contains growth factors that aid in cellular repair and regeneration, which results in healthier skin, diminished wrinkles, and increased skin elasticity.
- Promoting Hair Growth: Colostrum has potent hair follicle reactivation characteristics that stop foreign chemical-induced follicle damage and hair loss.
Where To Find Colostrum Supplements
Colostrum is a true superfood with many benefits for people of all ages. Bovine colostrum supplements are available online and in walk-in stores. Find a reputable brand to get pure cow’s first milk and enjoy all its benefits.