Colostrum: The Next Collagen?

Colostrum: The Next Collagen? featured image
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If there’s one ingredient that has been all over the internet and included in countless products aimed at rejuvenating everything from skin to nails to hair, its collagen. The main structural protein found in the human body, collagen is not only a buzzy ingredient, but a key player in maintaining healthy skin, nails, hair and more. Whether it’s straight-up collagen supplements or collagen-promoting skin-care products, the naturally occurring protein is all the rage when it comes to a glowing complexion.

But as of recently, a new ingredient has made its mark on the beauty world, and some are claiming it could be a rival to collagen in terms of its benefits. If you haven’t heard of colostrum yet, ahead, holistic nutritionist Jennifer Hanway gives us the lowdown on all things colostrum, from what it is to how it works and whether or not it’s the “new” collagen.

What is colostrum?

“Colostrum is the first form of milk produced by mammals in late pregnancy and shortly after giving birth,” Hanway begins. “It is a nutrient-rich fluid that is rich in antibodies, growth factors, vitamins and minerals, making it a crucial substance for the newborn’s initial development and immune system support.” Another naturally occurring substance, colostrum has been gaining traction for its rich concentration of minerals, growth factors, vitamins and more, making it a hot commodity for many supplement brands.

“Colostrum supplements can come in capsule or powder form, and the latter can be added to water, into a latte or smoothie or stirred into yogurt,” Hanway says. “As with any supplements it’s important to choose a good quality brand from a reputable source. I recommend a grass-fed colostrum and my go-to brand is Equip Foods’ Core Colostrum ($48).

How is colostrum different than collagen?

Now, the big question here is how is colostrum different than collagen? As Hanway explains, “While colostrum and collagen are both proteins with important roles in the body that can be taken as a dietary supplement in both capsule and powder form, they differ in both origin and functionality. Colostrum is a complex fluid produced by the mammary glands after childbirth, emphasizing immune support and nourishment for the newborn. Collagen is a structural protein found in various connective tissues throughout the body, contributing to skin elasticity, joint health, and other structural functions.”

The biggest difference when it comes to colostrum versus collagen has to do with immune support, Hanway emphasizes. “When considering them as a dietary supplement they do have some cross over in terms of their benefit for improving intestinal permeability and skin regeneration but colostrum is superior for those looking to enhance their immune system.”

What are the benefits of colostrum in the skin?

We all know that collagen and collagen production–encouraging products yield tons of benefits on the skin, whether it be for maintaining elasticity, improving volume or retaining moisture. So how does colostrum benefit the skin? According to Hanway, “colostrum offers several benefits to the skin, primarily due to its rich composition of growth factors and immune-boosting components. It helps in promoting skin regeneration and repair, making it useful for wound healing, reducing the appearance of scars and potentially having some anti-aging properties. Colostrum’s antimicrobial properties also contribute to maintaining healthy skin by protecting against infections. Colostrum also contains proteins like lactoferrin that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe irritated skin.”

What are the benefits of colostrum in the body?

Though it’s clear that colostrum is a powerhouse when it comes to healthy skin, the substance’s benefits don’t end there. “In addition to its skin-boosting effects, colostrum properties include strengthening the immune system to help the body fight off pathogens, support muscle and tissue growth, especially after exercise, and it has been associated with improved gut health by helping to heal intestinal permeability and promoting a healthy gut microbiome,” Hanway explains.

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