Well, I’ve spent the last six months or so exploring the use of bovine colostrum as a supplement, and sampling a variety of brands. I’m sure there’s much more to learn, but thought I’d pause here long enough to offer a recap of what I have learned, thus far -- and to recommend a couple of brands which, in my estimation, are truly top-notch.
For more general information about bovine colostrum, please see:
What To Look For In A Colostrum Supplement
To get a sense of the variety of colostrum supplements that are available, I employed the decidedly non-scientific method of looking on the shelves of two of Boulder’s health-food stores, and one “alternative” pharmacy, and doing a bunch of googling online. I ended up sampling eight brands in total, and was amazed by the variety, in terms of how they looked, smelled, tasted and felt. Some were in capsules, some in powder form, some lozenges. After sampling the ones that I did, and doing a bit of research, here’s what I can say, about what to look for, and what to avoid, when considering a colostrum supplement ....
Whole vs. De-Fatted Colostrum
First, is the colostrum supplement comprised of natural whole colostrum -- or have certain parts of the colostrum (e.g. its fat) been removed? I strongly recommend going for natural whole colostrum, with nothing added or nothing removed -- and one that has been harvested within six hours after parturition (the birth of the calf). What I discovered, and what you’ll see also, is that natural whole “six-hour” colostrum looks and tastes and feels and smells like a vital whole food: a bit like powdered buttermilk.
In its natural whole form, colostrum is biochemically suited to withstand the acids of the stomach, and make its way fully intact into the intestines, where it’s various healing components are assimilated. If, on the other hand, the fat has been removed, then this altered colostrum tends to degrade within the acidic environment of the stomach. To get around this problem, manufacturers of de-fatted colostrum then have to add other things (e.g. bio-lipids) to ensure that the colostrum is once again fully bio-available. So, again, I recommend going for a whole colostrum supplement, rather than one that has been de-fatted.
The only possible exception might be for someone who has extreme allergies to lactose and/or casein. High-quality colostrum, which has been collected within six hours after parturition, contains virtually no lactose or casein. (It is NOT milk!) There may, however, be trace amounts of these substances, so someone with extreme allergies may decide to go with a de-fatted variety of colostrum, which also has been filtered to completely eliminate lactose and casein. What’s really interesting, however, is that there have been numerous reports of folks recovering from their lactose or casein intolerance, after several months of supplementing with whole colostrum. In other words, colostrum can, in certain cases, heal lactose intolerance!
Colostrum, Fillers, Flow Agents
If you go for colostrum in capsule form, do your best, once again, to make sure that the capsules contain only 100% whole colostrum -- without any additional fillers or “flow agents” (stuff manufacturers mix into encapsulated products, to make them easier to encapsulate). Two of the colostrum products that I sampled included a small percentage of soy lecithin -- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but much better to have 100% colostrum.
A high-quality colostrum powder will be light yellow in color; will be fine in texture, and clump a bit, naturally; will have a fresh and vital buttermilk-like smell and taste; and will take on a uniform creamy texture in your mouth. In short, it will look and smell and taste like a natural whole food, which it is!
Best to AVOID colostrum products which look, smell or taste rancid, stale or artificial; or have a grainy non-clumping texture (likely a sign that there’s a flow agent mixed in); or are pure white or brownish in color.
Elizabeth’s Colostrum Recommendations: Immune-Tree & Synertek
Of the various brands of colostrum that I sampled, the two that stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest, in terms of their overall quality, were: Immune-Tree and Synertek. Both of these companies offer six-hour whole colostrum, which is fresh and vital and wonderfully delicious! The colostrum from each of the two companies is unique in its flavor: Immune Tree is a bit richer, and Synertek a bit more delicate, in flavor -- but so far as I can tell, their effects are equally excellent -- so which of the two you choose will likely be just a matter of taste (like choosing a wine that is a bit sweeter vs. one that is a bit more dry).
Both Immune Tree and Synertek offer excellent colostrum powder, as well as lozenges (great for soothing the throat, when you’re coming down with a cold). Synertek’s colostrum powder is a tad less expensive than Immune Tree’s -- though with the 10% discount that Immune Tree is offering us, the two products become pretty much identical in price.
The two companies differ also in the varieties of colostrum products (beside the basic powder and lozenges) that they offer. Synertek offers shampoo, conditioner and herbal tooth brushing powder; as well as skin cream and colostrum liquid (for topical application). Immune Tree, on the other hand, offers colostrum capsules (which Synertek does not), Strawberry Moo Chews (great for kids!), and some customized fitness and weight-loss blends. So which company you decide to go with may depend in part upon which product line holds the greater appeal.
My Experience Taking Immune Tree & Synertek Colostrum
After several weeks of regular consumption of these two brands of colostrum, what I noticed mostly was a general increase in energy-level. I also noticed being stronger in the weight-room -- an effect I was not at all going for, but there you have it .... suddenly I could do a few more repetitions, or move the weight up a notch. And my body seemed to recover more quickly, after a strenuous workout or a deep yoga asana practice. Interesting! I now understand, directly, why it is that many athletes are supplementing with colostrum.
Now one of the primary reasons that I initially became interested in colostrum was for its use as support in healing injuries. I have an old ankle injury, which I’d love to be able more fully to transform. And I have noticed some small but significant improvements in the joint -- enough to commit to continuing with the colostrum supplementation -- and feeling very curious to see what the joint will feel like, say in a year from now.
Since I don’t have any major physical diseases that I’m currently relating to, I can’t offer an experiential report on the effect of colostrum supplementation on such a disease -- but there are literally thousands of testimonials out there, from folks who have had great success, incorporating colostrum into their healing regimens for all variety of conditions.
My most general sense of colostrum as a supplement is that it’s fantastic support for the physical body. It helps to maintain a healthy immune system, to regulate metabolism, to increase the absorption rate of other nutrients, and to enhance athletic performance. To say that pretty much everyone could benefit from colostrum supplementation is -- in my estimation -- not an exaggerated claim.
In comparison to Tonic Gold -- another wonderful supplement -- I would say that colostrum is to the physical body what Tonic Gold is to the subtle body. The two have, in my experience, two very distinct realms of functioning, which can beautifully complement one another.
So, to summarize: a big yes! for the potential benefits of colostrum supplementation -- with the proviso that there are many brands that are, shall we say, less than ideal. Two companies that I highly recommend are Synertek and Immune Tree. As always, use your own intelligence and intuition to determine what’s right for you .... and enjoy the journey!