Written by Gabriele Dennert and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Colostrum

Abstract and key points

  • Colostrum preparations are dietary products, mostly from bovine sources, of the milk secreted within the first days after giving birth.
  • Colostrum is taken as powder or capsules, rarely as fresh colostrum milk.
  • There is no evidence that colostrum alleviates symptoms in cancer patients or acts against cancer.
  • Colostrum seems to be generally safe in people without allergies to dairy products.

Colostrum is the milk secreted by mammals within the first few days after giving birth.

Colostrum preparations used in CAM most often stem from cows and are marketed as powder or capsules for oral intake as dietary products.

Colostrum contains high concentrations of immunoglobulins, cytokines, growth factors, lactoferrin and other proteins, which play an important role for passive immunity of the offspring and act as immunomodulators.

Intake of colostrum, especially bovine colostrum products, are claimed to modulate the human immune system, alleviate inflammatory diseases and their symptoms and act against cancer cells in humans.

There is no clinical evidence that supports the claim of beneficial effects in cancer patients.

No controlled clinical trials are available and results from three case series showed either no or questionable benefit.

No adverse effects have been reported in cancer patients. People who are allergic to dairy products should not take colostrum preparations.

Colostrum seems to be generally safe but inefficacious in cancer patients.

Citation

Gabriele Dennert, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Colostrum [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Colostrum. February 8, 2017.

Document history

Assessed as up to date in February 2017 by Barbara Wider.
Summary assessed as up to date in April 2016 by Barbara Wider.
Summary assessed as up to date in January 2015 by Barbara Wider.
Summary assessed as up to date in September 2013 by Barbara Wider.
Summary first published in September 2012, authored by Gabriele Dennert.

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