The stuff lactating mammals produce just after giving birth, colostrum is packed with immunoglobulins and other nutrients that help support a newborn’s immune system and seed a healthy gut microbiome in the first few days of life.

While ‘bovine colostrum’ might not sound like a food marketer’s dream, you could probably say the same about collagen (sourced from animal skin and connective tissue), which is one of the most successful functional food and supplement ingredients of recent years. Plus, consumers already consume dairy milk, so colostrum is not actually a big stretch, Stacy Dill, global marketing director at leading colostrum supplier PanTheryx​​, told FoodNavigator-USA.

“I’d say​ awareness of colostrum specifically is relatively low​ [in the US], although consumers instinctively know that breastfeeding is good for you, so when we tell the story about bovine colostrum, consumers are quick to understand there could be benefits, especially when they understand that there’s over 90 replicated functionalities between human colostrum and bovine colostrum.

“So when they see that it has much of that same functionality, they have a quick reason to believe. With the additional marketing we’re putting behind bovine colostrum, we’re expecting a great increase in awareness.”

‘There are over 250 functional components in colostrum’ 

But if bovine colostrum is designed for newborn cows, how do we know that it confers any benefit to, say, adult humans?

According to PanTheryx – which sources its colostrum from 1,000 dairy farms in the US and says it ensures calves first get their fair share of this ‘liquid gold’ – there is a growing body of human clinical data showing benefits to digestive and immune health, two of the hottest areas in functional food and beverage right now, at dosages of 400mg to 3g

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