Sport may challenge the spirit, cleanse the mind and toughen the body but moderate it’s not. It can be tough to keep off the road if you’re getting good results or if there’s a competition on the horizon. Too much enthusiasm can lead to overtraining, when the work outweighs the rest and the muscles don’t complete their recovery.
Neovite colostrum is the first milk produced by cows during the first 48 hours after birth. Colostrum provides newborns with the essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids they need to make it through the first days of life. The product is imported from New Zealand from the surplus after the calves have been fed. It is a rich source of bioactive components such as immunoglobulins, cytokines, interleukins and growth factors.
Colostrum is recommended by the English Institute of Sport performance nutritionist Nigel Mitchell, who advises British Cycling. UK riders have a regular supply from the leading brand Neovite which offers products that have been screened by drug testing laboratory HFL Sports Science.
Neovite powder can be mixed with energy drinks or foods to give the immune system a boost and reduce illnesses from colds and flu. Marathon runners taking colostrum increased their levels of salivary antibodies (IgA) by 79%, their front line of defense against colds and throat infections. But better results are not just down to keeping healthy. Supplementation in hockey players resulted in improvements in sprints and jumps. In another trial, competitive cyclists had an overall 2.2% increase in performance in a 40k time trial after intense training.
Professor Ray Playford, eminent gastroenterologist, has published research showing dairy colostrum to be effective for colitis and inflammatory bowel disorders as well as preventing gut damage caused by the use of NSAID pain-killers.
Aberystwyth University* has recently completed a study where Neovite colostrum was used to counter exercise-induced immunodepression. Twenty healthy, active men cycled for 2 hours at 64 % VO2 max after 4 weeks of daily Neovite or placebo. In measures of their innate immune response, Neovite speeded the recovery of neutrophil function and limited the decrease of salivary lysozyme, two more first line defences against respiratory infection.
Author Dr Glen Davison says, “The results confirm that bovine colostrum supplementation has some beneficial effects on the immune system and limits some of the effects induced by physical stressors such as exercise. This may confer some benefit to our defences against infection and may help to explain the findings from previous studies in athletes, where those taking bovine colostrum reported fewer days with illness”
Getting peak performance from athletes is achieved by keeping them healthy over a sustained period of time. But this is tough if their training is working against their goals. “Running is hugely taxing on the body and can suppress the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flu, especially in the winter,” says Joe Beer, renowned endurance sports coach and author. “It’s common after an illness for your running times to be slower, your heart rate to be elevated and for there to be a sweeping drop in your training momentum.” Athletes he trains who use colostrum have improved recovery rates, increases in strength, and lean muscle mass and better performances against the clock. However, the most positive reports are that clients are having fewer bouts of illness and less stomach trouble. “Colostrum provides a gradual accumulation of better health and consistency in my athletes’ training which results in faster running times,” says Joe.
Joe Beer is not alone in the results he is achieving. Matt Lovell, Elite Sports Nutritionist and advisor to RFU had this to say: “Colostrum is valuable support to your nutrition during periods of intense training. It offers background immune support and is a great benefit to digestive health and wellness. I use colostrum for both athletes and the general public.”
Colostrum is the first food we all taste when we’re born. Collecting first milk from goats and cattle has been part of our diet for the last 10,000 years. Sports people will always seek the cutting edge for performance and health nutrition. National squads and champion clubs in rugby and soccer already use our colostrum, with individual winners and record breakers in cycling and running. The benefits they gain serve as markers for the rest of us.
We see it becoming a cost-effective tier of treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, IBS, recurrent respiratory infection, wound healing, muscle loss, chronic fatigue and auto-immune disorders. Colostrum, a taste we all forgot, has a long future in human health.