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Babies obtain it from mom, and adults get it from livestock. Colostrum, that sticky, yellow fluid produced from new mothers' breasts, has been around since mammals first walked the earth. The rebirth of breastfeeding in the 1970s sparked a revived interest in colostrum as a nutritional supplement. Bovine colostrum, in particular, contains substances that have earned it street cred for its purported benefits in beautifying skin.
Also called first milk or beestings, colostrum is a pre-milk fluid that's produced by the mammary glands of female mammals immediately prior to giving birth. The thick, milky substance contains water, proteins, minerals and disease-fighting antibodies. Before the widespread use of antibiotics, colostrum was the primary source of immunoglobulins -- those handy antibodies used to battle infections. In fact, according to the Arthritis Trust of America, when Albert Sabin produced his initial oral vaccine against polio, the immunoglobulin came from bovine colostrum.
Colostrum contains growth factors that promote skin-cell production and tissue repair. One of its growth factors, known as transforming growth factor, specifically targets skin cells with its wound-healing action. Colostrum also has purported anti-aging properties to put a wrinkle in your wrinkles. Although Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that bovine colostrum's exact mechanism of action remains unknown, the milky fluid appears to have immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory activity, both properties that can help skin look fresh and fabulous. The evidence is anecdotal, however, with little, if any, scientific data that specifically focuses on colostrum's efficacy in beautifying skin.
If you want to try colostrum for yourself, there are few safety concerns attached to it. On rare occasions, it can cause allergic reactions, such as diarrhea, vomiting, watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, swelling and tightness in your chest. Keep an eye out for allergic skin reactions, too. The last thing you want when you're trying to cultivate a creamy, clear complexion is a case of red, itchy hives.
Keeping within suggested dosage ranges can help minimize any nasty side effects. Available in liquid extract and dry-form capsules, bovine-colostrum potency fluctuates. You can buy it fresh from a local farmer, or you can purchase a processed supplement. According to Drugs.com, studies typically administer 25 milliliters to 125 milliliters of liquid formulations or 10 grams to 20 grams of capsules containing dry powder. If you do steer toward the supplements, take them on an empty stomach because food can interfere with absorption rates.