Study explores antimicrobial and antiinflammatory activities of bovine colostrum

Colostrum is a thick, sticky, yellowish mammary secretion that all mammals provide to their newborns during the first 24-48 hours after delivery. Human newborns receive colostrum from their mothers during the first few hours after birth, and this 'Elixir of Life' not only provides naturally produced nutrients and antibodies in a highly concentrated low volume form but also creates the foundation of lifelong immunity. Bovine colostrum (BC) is rich in immunoglobulins and lactoferrin, growth and antimicrobial factors, which promote tissue growth and maturation of digestive tract and immune function in neonatal animals and humans. It has been reported that constituents from BC are 100-fold to 1,000-fold more potent than human colostrum. This means that even human infants can rely on cow or buffalo colostrum to gain health benefits. The immunoglobulins present in BC show antimicrobial activity by forming a chelated complex with bacterial and viral antigens. BC also has high antiinflaamtory activity and antioxidant properties. The oxidative stress and microbial infections lead to an inflammatory response and generate free radicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI), which in the absence of antioxidants can cause DNA damage. High levels of antioxidants and growth factors present in colostrum have proven beneficial in wound healing and to reduce oxidative stress in athletes due to heavy exercise. The goal of the present study was to determine the antimicrobial and antiinflammatory activities of BC using standardized tests.

At 100 μg/ml, BC depicted strong antimicrobial activity against both Gram -ve and +ve strains of bacteria (E. coli, S. aureus, P. vulgaris, E. aerogenes and Salmonella typhi). The carrageenan-induced rat paw edema was moderately reduced in BC treated animals. It was found that the combination of BC with diclofenac, produce greater antiinflammatory effects than that of BC alone, which suggests that combination treatment may reduce or minimize the side effects of this antiinflammatory synthetic drug. Our findings suggest that BC could be used as an alternative remedy for treating the microbial infections and inflammation-related disorders.

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