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What are the Most Common Colostrum Side Effects?

By Eric Stolze
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Colostrum is a milky substance that is typically excreted from the milk-producing glands of cows and other mammals for several days after they have given birth, and its excretion usually stops when the mammary glands begin to produce true milk. The colostrum from cows, or bovine colostrum, is a natural food that some people drink for its health-promoting effects, despite the chance of colostrum side effects.

Bovine colostrum side effects do not develop in all users, but the most common colostrum side effects include mild nausea and flatulence. Some infectious agents may be passed from infected cows into bovine foods products, and the pathogen that causes bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE), or mad cow disease, has also been linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.

In some cases, children and people with weak immune systems take bovine colostrum to treat infectious diarrhea. Athletes have used bovine colostrum to enhance their performance in some instances. Rectal enemas made with bovine colostrum may be beneficial in treating colon inflammation disorders such as colitis. Bovine colostrum has been used by some people who want to improve lean muscle mass, slow the aging process or increase stamina. Researchers have generally found insufficient scientific evidence to support most bovine colostrum uses, and they continue to study colostrum side effects.

Some cows have developed bovine spongiform encephalitis from a pathogen known as a prion. Bovine spongiform encephalitis typically causes damage to the brains and central nervous systems of infected cattle. Products from cattle infected with BSE may cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, but a link between this infectious disease and colostrum side effects is not clear in many cases.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease causes several symptoms that may include rapid development of dementia or delirium, problems with coordination and muscle twitching. Hallucinations, confusion and changes in personality have been reported by some patients with this disorder. Speech impairment and sleepiness may also occur with CJD. The rapid development of symptoms makes it unlikely that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be confused with dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease that tend to develop more gradually.

Physicians often use patient symptoms and an examination of mental functioning and motor skills as they diagnose Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain, spinal taps and blood tests may be used to confirm a diagnosis of this condition. This disease is usually not curable, although interleukin medications may slow the progression of the disorder. In some instances, custodial care can be helpful for patients with declining mental functioning from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Many people with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease become incapable of caring for themselves within six months of the onset of symptoms. Death typically occurs within eight months of the appearance of symptoms, although a few people have lived for one to two years with his condition. Heart failure, respiratory failure and infection are possible complications of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that can contribute to a patient’s declining health.

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Discussion Comments

By anon343974 — On Aug 04, 2013

This is estrogen dominance. I am losing hair and I got a lump in over my left nipple after using colostrum for three weeks. Also, I noticed estrogen fat deposits so I cut the dose in half a week ago. I still got the lump yesterday.

By anon337639 — On Jun 07, 2013

I began using Colostrum a month and a half ago for an immunodeficiency which I have. My body produces very low levels of IgG Subclasses 1 and 3. I was constantly sick with sinus infections, upper respiratory illnesses and gastroenteritis. Colostrum's effect on my immune system was amazing. For the first time in years I have not needed antibiotic. However, my scalp has become increasingly itchy and I am shedding hair at an alarming rate.

My body has become even more leaner and muscular but I believe Colostrum has done something to my hair. As a result, I am stopping it today and hoping my hair returns to its normal state, very full and shiny.

By anon336684 — On May 30, 2013

@anon190458: Did you hair grow back after you stopped taking it?

By anon190458 — On Jun 26, 2011

This is really strange. My hair was falling out in clumps. After taking colostrum for almost a month now my hair has stopped falling out and is soft and shines.

Maybe you had some bad colostrum. I heard if it is not processed right or overheated it has no value. The best colostrum I have found is from new life health solutions. This comes from Doug Wyatt who brought colostrum for human use to the U.S. over 20 years ago when it cured his wife. Hope this helps.

By anon143955 — On Jan 18, 2011

After taking bovine colostrum about a month both my wife and I noticed our hair becoming very dry and falling out. After stopping for only a week, our hair is no longer falling out and is no longer dry.

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