A recent in vitro study, published in the journal Nutrients, suggests that bovine colostrum can bolster the gut wall lining that becomes weakened if bacteria associated with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) are present.
While the presence of bacteria in the small intestine is normal, an overgrowth of bacteria can result in a variety of abdominal discomforts such as bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.
Bovine colostrum enhances the cellular proteins that naturally bind the surface cells together to maintain its normal strong barrier function, providing a natural approach for increased intestinal permeability.
“The bacteria associated with SIBO are usually those found in the normal colon. We showed that bovine colostrum was able to strengthen gut defenses against all the bacteria tested relevant for SIBO— a remarkable novel finding,” explained Dr. Raymond Playford, PhD, FRCP, clinical gastroenterologist, lead investigator, and vice president R&D, PanTheryx. “We also confirmed previous studies of ours and by other groups that bovine colostrum has benefits against two very toxic bacterial strains (namely enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella) that cause infectious diarrhea – bacteria which are not normally associated with SIBO.”
The research team examined the effects of bovine colostrum, egg, or the combination of both on bacterial growth and bacteria-induced changes in trans-epithelial electrical resistance and bacterial translocation across confluent human intestinal Caco-2 monolayers.
Bacteria associated with SIBO can cause a weakening of the natural defenses of the gut lining, leading to increased bacteria penetrating the gut lumen. To avoid this, the researchers used bovine colostrum as a defense mechanism to strengthen the gut cells and maintain their natural cell-cell contact proteins to prevent excessive leakage of luminal contents through the layer of the gut lining.
The in vitro study used pasteurized bovine colostrum powder collected during the first 24 hours post calving and a commercial chicken whole egg powder. The colostrum contained 48g protein and 15g IgG (Immunoglobulin) per 100g powder and the egg powder comprised 51g protein, and about 1g IgY per 100g powder. Researchers measured how many bacteria crossed the gut barrier layer as well as followed the integrity of the barrier layer by measuring trans-epithelial electrical resistance.
“While the bovine colostrum did not directly kill the bacteria in this study, it did strengthen the natural gut barrier against the stresses of bacteria,” noted Playford.
“This in vitro study found that bovine (cow) colostrum strengthens the gut wall lining that becomes weakened if bacteria associated with SIBO are present. Bovine colostrum enhanced the cellular proteins that naturally bind the surface cells together to maintain its normal strong barrier function, providing a natural approach for increased intestinal permeability (also referred to as leaky gut),” explained Playford. “While the bovine colostrum did not directly kill the bacteria in this study, it did strengthen the natural gut barrier against the stresses of bacteria.”
He added that using bovine colostrum on its own was shown to be just as powerful as using it in combination with egg.
Playford told NutraIngredients-USA that as dietary supplement manufacturers look at new product formulations that support digestive health, they should consider nutrients and compounds that strengthen the gut wall lining for a number of different gut issues, including SIBO. “The current study in Nutrients adds to the body of research showing the digestive health benefits of cow colostrum for human health.”
“I’m energized by the findings of this current study as it shows the powerful effect that cow colostrum has on maintaining the integrity of the gut, maintaining the normal barrier function of the gut lining, and—on the molecular level—supporting the body’s natural ability to aggregate the gut surface cells together, maintaining the gut and bloodstream barrier,” said playford.
Playford said he is hopeful that more studies will be conducted to further explore not only the health benefits of bovine colostrum for SIBO and leaky gut, but also further extend the database of clinical studies regarding the value of the ingredient for immune support and gut health in adults as well as children.
2021, 13(3), 1024; doi.org/10.3390/nu13031024
“Effects of Bovine Colostrum with or without Egg on In Vitro Bacterial-Induced Intestinal Damage with Relevance for SIBO and Infectious Diarrhea”
Authors: R. Playford et al.