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Potential benefits of colostrum in gastrointestinal diseases
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Academic Editor: Munis Dundar
This paper reviews the composition of colostrum and the potential preventive and therapeutic use of this “first milk” for treating various gastrointestinal disorders in humans. Colostrum is a complex biological liquid that is richer in antimicrobial peptides, immune-regulating compounds and growth factors than the subsequent mature milk. The main functions of colostrum are to provide essential nutritional components, strengthen the natural defense system, modulate immune response, balance intestinal microbiota and enhance the growth and repair of several tissues. Several studies and clinical trials carried out both in vitro and in vivo on humans and animals suggest the clinical benefits of bovine colostrum (BC) supplementation in gastro-intestinal diseases. Despite the encouraging results, further well-designed studies are required in order to confirm these effects, the dose and duration of treatment. Colostrum is safe since there are no contraindications regarding high dose levels and few side effects of clinical relevance have been reported. In conclusion, in the near future, colostrum-based supplements may play a complementary role to synthetic drugs in the prevention and treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders.