8 Clinically Proven Benefits Of Colostrum For Alzheimer’s

Shruti Baikerikar

(B.E. Biotechnology, PG Clinical Research)
Independent Researcher, Health Writer & Founder of Salubrainous [Full Bio]

benefits of colostrum for alzheimer

Name: Colostrum, Bovine colostrum
Active Compounds: Colostrinin, Proline rich polypeptides (PRP)
Number of scientific references: 34
Level of Evidence: Level III What is this?

Note: Colostrum benefits in Alzheimer’s as a neuroprotective agent and is clinically proven to improve memory in early stages. It’s most important component Proline-rich polypeptides or Colostrinin helps improve cognition as well. It is helpful in prevention and as an add-on therapy in Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is mainly focussed upon as a disorder that affects memory, cognition and day to day activities; but as we tend to focus on their forgetfulness we forget those unusual occasions where individuals with Alzheimer’s still remember us and our love, and they do show it in their way. (Read Understanding Alzheimer’s)

Few research strategies are directed on preventing disease progression and protecting memory and cognition at early stages in Alzheimer’s. Colostrum is one such agent that benefits in Alzheimer’s; it serves as a neuroprotective agent and has been proven to improve memory clinically in early Alzheimer’s.

What Is Colostrum?

Colostrum is the first milk secreted at the time of parturition or after giving birth. What makes it different from the milk secreted later is that it contains immune conferring agents and proteins that give it a lot of nutritional advantage over regular milk.

It is generally secreted within 24-72 hours of giving birth and is slightly reddish yellow in color. Colostrum is rich in immunity conferring agents called immunoglobulins. These are proteins that have anti-microbial properties.

Colostrum contains a high percentage of a glycoprotein called lactoferrin which has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is proven to benefit in conditions like HIV, Herpes, Candida infection, cancer, etc.

Colostrum also contains beneficial enzymes like lysozyme, lactoperoxidase, etc. which confer antibacterial property to it. Growth factors which are essential for the baby’s growth are also found in colostrum and otherwise aid in improving gut health.

PRP or proline-rich polypeptides help regulate the function of thymus gland- an organ involved in our immune defense. By modulating its function can stimulate or control our immune function.

Colostrum is low in carbohydrates like lactose but rich in proteins like casein and also fats. Minerals like calcium, phosphate, manganese, sodium as well as vitamin B, vitamin A and vitamin D are found in high concentrations in colostrums.

Colostrum is found to benefit clinically in the following conditions :

  • Diarrhea
  • Gastric inflammation caused by NSAIDs
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chemotherapy-induced mucositis
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Viral infections
  • Cancer
  • Allergies and autoimmune conditions
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Supports athlete health
  • Accelerates wound healing

Bovine colostrum which is obtained from cows is used to prepare nutritional supplements. Human colostrum (HC) is the first milk produced after birth and is rich in immunoglobulin (Ig), antimicrobial peptides and growth factors which are important for nutrition, growth, and development of newborn infants and also for passive immunity.

Colostrum has been used to treat many conditions in India by Ayurveda- ‘Traditional Indian Medicine.’ Bovine colostrum is obtained in large quantities and is very similar to human colostrums regarding its composition.

It is found to beneficial and safe in animal studies, which makes it useful for preparing supplements.

The immunomodulatory part of colostrum- PRP or Proline-rich peptide is found to be beneficial in Alzheimer’s, and the next part of this post focuses on the various benefits colostrum has to offer in Alzheimer’s.

Suggested Colostrum Supplements For Alzheimer’s

Please consult a health practitioner before taking any health supplements.

Colostrum Powders

Those who prefer consuming colostrum powder over supplements, here are a few brands that you can opt for:

  • Sovereign Laboratories Colostrum-LD powder: Buy similar from Amazon
  • California Gold Nutrition Colostrum Powder: Buy from Amazon or iHerb
  • Now Colostrum Powder: Buy from Amazon  or iHerb

Colostrum Supplements

Colostrinin is a trademark of Regen Therapeutics, London and is marketed by Metagenics, Inc. as Ceriva (known as CogniSure earlier). This supplement contains 100mcg of Colostrinin (Proline Rich Polypeptide) which is proven to be beneficial in Alzheimer’s.

You need to consult your health practitioner to buy this supplement. You can learn more about Ceriva here.

Here are a few dietary supplements that provide colostrinin rich colostrum.

Sovereign Laboratories Colostrum-LD California Gold Nutrition Colostrum

Image Source: Sovereign Laboratories

Image Source: Madre Labs

These supplements contain colostrum standardized to 25-30% immunoglobins, 1.5% lactoferrin, 1.5% Growth Factors and 3-5% Proline rich polypeptide. Proline rich polypeptide supplementation is found to be beneficial in Alzheimer’s.

Dosage: 1 capsule 1-2 times a day or follow manufacturer’s dosage

These supplements contain colostrum standardized to 20% immunglobins and 15% Proline Rich Polypeptides.

Dosage: 1 capsule 1-2 times a day or follow manufacturer’s dosage

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from iHerb

 8 Proven Benefits Of Colostrum In Alzheimer’s

PRP in colostrums benefits in Alzheimer’s, but colostrum has many other pharmacological properties that could benefit in preventing disease progression.

1.Clinical trials demonstrate that colostrum supplementation benefits in Alzheimer’s

Researchers at Poland conducted the first clinical study assessing the effect of colostrum supplementation in Alzheimer’s.

The study dates back to 1999. They utilized a part of colostrum called PRP or proline-rich polypeptide which was called Colostrinin (trademark of ReGen Therapeutics, London). Colostrinin was found to have immune-regulating properties in animal studies.

Also, it activated interferon gamma, and other agents produced by cells (known as cytokines) which helped improve immunity and had a psychostimulating effect. In this study 46 individuals with Alzheimer’s were recruited and were treated as follows:

  • 100 microgram Colostrinin tablet every second day OR
  • 100 microgram bioorganic selenium every second day OR
  • Placebo tablet

One treatment cycle lasted for three weeks; after that, a two-week break was given, and the next treatment cycle was initiated. Every patient received ten such treatment cycle over the period of 1 year.

Initially, an escalating dose study was conducted where 50, 100 and 200 micrograms of Colostrinin were evaluated. 200 microgram showed an exceeding psychostimulating effect, 100 micrograms showed moderate stimulating effect while 50 micrograms showed little or no effect.

Thus 100 micrograms of Colostrinin was identified as the ideal treatment dose.

Out of the 15 patients who received Colostrinin, eight improved while in the rest seven disease had stabilized. They showed a better social functioning, their mood and cognitive abilities also improved.

However, none in placebo or selenium group showed any improvement.

13 out of 15 in selenium group (90% stabilised) and 8 out of 16 in placebo group stabilised (50% stabilised and 50% deteriorated). Colostrinin was found to be safe except for mild transient adverse effects like anxiety, stimulation, insomnia, and fatigue.

Researchers concluded that colostrinin supplementation improves memory and halts disease activity in individuals with mild to moderate dementia in Alzheimer’s.

Long-term safety of Colostrinin in Alzheimer’s

Further the same group of researchers examined whether Colostrinin is safe for long term supplementation in Alzheimer’s patients. 33 individuals participated in the study for a period of 16 months.

13 out of these 33 had already received Colostrinin therapy for 12 months as a result of earlier clinical trials and hence they participated for 28 months. 100microg Colostrinin was provided every second day as per earlier protocol and patients were evaluated at every four month interval.

Colostrinin treatment induced slight but statistically significant improvement or stabilization of disease in patients.

Mild and transient adverse effects were observed at the beginning of the treatment. They included anxiety, logorrhoea ( communication disorder) and insomnia but these lasted only for 2-3 days.

Colostrinin effect on Alzheimer’s studied on larger population for longer duration

Finally, a study published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2004 demonstrated the effect of Colostrinin in larger study population.

105 Alzheimer’s patients were recruited and the study was designed to have following phases:

  • 15-week comparison between Colostrinin and placebo
  • Followed by 15-week treatment for all patients with Colostrinin

Outcomes were assessed based on various scales designed to examine symptoms and indicate status in Alzheimer’s.

Colostrinin showed early improvement in cognition and daily functioning in patients. This effect was more pronounced in early Alzheimer’s patients compared to patients in advanced stages. Overall Colostrinin was found to have treatment potential in Alzheimer’s disease.

Quick Gist: Colostrinin is a part of colostrum called Proline-rich Polypeptide (PRP). Colostrinin (100 micrograms every second day) supplementation improves memory, improves or stabilizes disease in Alzheimer’s patient.

It is safe and well tolerated even on the long term.

2.Colostrum reduces inflammation in the brain

Formation of beta-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s triggers inflammatory process. Microglia are a type of immune cells found in the brain which in response to amyloid beta aggregation initiate an inflammatory action as a way of defense.

However, when this action goes out of control, it leads to a chronic inflammatory state in the brain and damages neuron. This neuronal damage results in cognitive decline.

Bovine colostrum is rich in cytokines that initiate inflammatory actions and provide protection from various infections as well as strengthen immunity. However, its ability to regulate immune responses also makes it a favourable anti-inflammatory agent.

Yadav et.al , via an experimental study, have demonstrated the potent anti-inflammatory effect of colostrum.

Researchers at Polish Academy of Sciences have identified that even the proline-rich polypeptide (PRP) of colostrum has an anti-inflammatory effect that could benefit in Alzheimer’s.

In this study, they used two cell lines: one in which inflammation was triggered while remained untreated. PRP of colostrum was found to inhibit the activity of nuclear factor kappa B in inflammatory cells while at the same time it stimulated the activity of the same protein in untreated cells.

Nuclear factor kappa B is one of the key players in inflammation and immune response. This indicated that PRP in colostrum could regulate immune responses based on the environment.

Its inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B could help control inflammation in Alzheimer’s.

Quick Gist: PRP in colostrum inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory agents which could result in reduced brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s.

3.It boosts antioxidant defenses in Alzheimer’s

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between prooxidant and antioxidant agents in the body. In Alzheimer’s, oxidative stress occurs before formation of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

Colostrinin or proline-rich polypeptide found in colostrum mediates antioxidant effect in Alzheimer’s in the following ways :

  • Inhibiting formation of damaging reactive oxygen species
  • Increasing level of antioxidant enzymes
  • Regulating important mechanism involved in antioxidant defense
  • Boosting activity of cellular respiration units called mitochondria
  • Halting age-related degeneration and reduction in antioxidant defense

Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch, USA conducted an experimental study wherein they demonstrated that colostrinin reduced the formation of reactive oxygen species (agents that cause oxidative damage and hamper cells and tissue).

Colostrinin also prevented activation of metabolic pathways which cause cell death in response to oxidative stress. These findings are indicative of colostrinin’s protective action against oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s.

Quick Gist: Colostrinin derived from colostrum can protect from oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s and thus prevent the disease and halt disease progression.

4.It regulates immunity to protect brain health

Inflammation and the activity of immune system in Alzheimer’s are correlated. Microglial cells are a type of immune cells that protect the brain tissue. Under normal conditions that can support clearance of amyloid beta protein.

However, in Alzheimer’s these immune cells fail to do so and subsequently contribute to neuroinflammation and neurotoxicity. This creates interest in utilizing immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s.

A fairly old study, dated back to 1996, indicates that Colstrinin may have immune stimulating properties. It was observed that those supplemented with 100 or 200 micrograms Colostrinin had modified immune responses and also experienced the psycho-stimulating effect.

Janusz et.al highlight the various ways in which the PRP fragment of Colostrum helps in regulating immune responses and benefits in Alzheimer’s :

  • Prevention of amyloid beta aggregate
  • Disrupting existing aggregates of amyloid beta
  • Preventing uncontrolled activation of cells that stimulates inflammation
  • Prevents oxidative damage and boosts antioxidant defenses
  • Modulates Cellular respiration

A study published in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology,2003 revealed that high concentrations of certain fractions from Colostrum inhibited oxidative damage in Alzheimer’s.

In 2007, Janusz et.al demonstrated that PRP from colostrum did modulate immune responses in Alzheimer’s by inhibiting production of mediators of oxidative damage. Also, they prevented the release of inflammation-causing agents.

Quick Gist: The immune system can help prevent Alzheimer’s by clearing out amyloid beta plaques, but a disruption in its function can pave the way of inflammation in Alzheimer’s.

The Proline-rich Polypeptide obtained from Colostrum helps to regulate immune responses favorably to protect from as well as benefit in Alzheimer’s.

benefits of colostrum for alzheimer

5.It reduces amyloid beta accumulation

Amyloid beta plaque formation is the crux of the development of Alzheimer’s and subsequent cognitive decline. Dairy Peptides are identified with anti-amyloid aggregating activity.

Colostrinin ameliorates amyloid beta-induced toxicity and protects from oxidative stress.

A study published in Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2007 reports that Colostrinin can solubilise amyloid-beta fibrils and thus prevent their aggregation.

This activity of Colostrinin to reduce amyloid beta aggregation offers neuroprotection- it protects the brain cells and nerve cells from toxicity.

Certain fragment of Proline-Rich Polypeptides interacts with an amyloid beta plaque and disrupts this aggregation.

Quick Gist: Various proteins and fractions of Colostrum interact with amyloid beta plaques, disrupt them and thus help in clearance of amyloid beta plaques. This has a neuroprotective action on the brain tissue.

6.It has neuroprotective effect

Colostrinin has a neuroprotective action – it protects brain and nerve cells and prevents toxicity induced damage. This offers protection for neurodegenerative diseases. However, the mechanism is not well understood.

Research suggests that colostrinin clears amyloid beta plaques and this confers neuroprotective action.

A study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, 2009 highlighted that Colostrinin specifically offers neuroprotection by inhibiting apoptosis or cell death of neurons.

Quick Gist: Colostrinin offers neuroprotection from neurodegenerative diseases. It helps in clearance of amyloid beta plaques and prevents activation of cell death inducing pathways, thus offering neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s.

7.It supports healthy brain aging and may prevent dementia

Aging is the most significant risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. Colostrinin is proven to combat age-related decline in antioxidant defenses and can be used in treatment and prevention of age-related disorders.

Researchers hypothesize that fractions of colostrum can improve cognitive function, delay dementia and improve cognitive tasks like memory and learning.

Results of an experimental animal study, indeed, do indicate that Colostrinin can improve cognitive function in aged individuals. It also prevents loss of long-term memories.

A study investigating the effect of colostrum supplementation in older individuals during resistance training reported an improvement in cognitive function in treated individuals in addition to positive changes in muscle mass and upper body strength.

Quick Gist: Colostrinin supplementation in the elderly is found to improve cognitive function and delay dementia.

8.Colostrum can prevent Alzheimer’s disease

A study published in The Journal of nutrition, health, and aging, 2009 assessed the various clinical trials conducted on Colostrinin’s therapeutic effect in Alzheimer’s. Also, they studied the effect of Colostrinin at the cellular level.

They observed that Colostrinin improved cognitive function as well as daily function and this effect was more significant in early Alzheimer’s patients rather than advanced stages of the disease.

A further analysis of genetic material from Colostrinin treated cells demonstrated that Colostrinin brought about complex and multiple changes at genetic levels. It affected genes involved in the formation of amyloid beta plaques.

It reduced the expression of genes that supported the production of inflammatory agents and also enhanced defense against oxidative damage. Both of these properties could be beneficial in preventing Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders as well as aid in their treatment.

Quick Gist: Colostrinin derived from colostrum has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

What Is The Dose Of Colostrum For Alzheimer?

There is no specific dosage of colostrum outlined for Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials have found 100 micrograms as a beneficial dosage of Colostrinin from Colostrum (PRP fraction of Colostrum) for Alzheimer’s.

So if opting for Colostrinin supplements or Proline-rich Polypeptide supplements, a dosage of 100 microgram benefits in Alzheimer’s.

In the case of Colostrum supplements, they are available in varying dosages such as 250, 500 or 1000mg.

Research studies investigating the effect of Colostrum supplementation in healthy individuals have utilised dosage ranging from 10-60g per day. These are not advised for Alzheimer’s.

A dose of 1-1.5g of Colostrum, based on supplement formulation, is beneficial for Alzheimer’s. It is best to consult a health practitioner or to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

Based on the research, it is recommended to opt for Colostrinin supplements for treating Alzheimer’s. Colostrum supplements are beneficial for preventing Alzheimer’s and preventing dementia and cognitive decline.

Precautions with Colostrum Use

Colostrum is found to be relatively safe in research studies. In the case of allergies to milk product, one should avoid Colostrum. Also opt for good quality Colostrum supplements, to avoid any chance contaminants.

Colostrinin supplementation may have minor side effects such as anxiety, stimulation, insomnia, and fatigue, but these effects are transient.

Please consult a health practitioner before taking Colostrum or Colostrinin supplements.

Conclusion

Colostrum is nature’s first complete food for babies that provides essential immunity and growth factors to neonates.

The Proline-Rich Polypeptide fraction of Colostrum called Colostrinin shows awesome benefits in Alzheimer’s.

Clinical trials have proven that Colostrinin supplementation in Alzheimer’s improves cognitive function in patients and this effect was more pronounced in early stage patients than advanced patients.

Additionally Colostrum provides other benefits in Alzheimer’s such as anti-inflammatory effect, improvement in antioxidant defenses, regulating immune responses and offering neuroprotection from neurodegenerative diseases.

The research on beneficial effects of Colostrum in Alzheimer’s is promising and Colostrum should be promoted as a health supplement in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Learn the proven benefits and dosage of colostrum supplements in Alzheimer's.

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