Supplementing with bovine colostrum (also known as first milk) is an excellent way to help improve your gut health and balance a compromised immune system. Intrigued by its liposomal delivery technology, I decided to give Colostrum-LD by Sovereign Laboratories a try.
In this review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why I think Colostrum-LD is one of the best colostrum supplements on the market today, as well as how we’ve used the product to help fix our son’s digestive issues and support our German shepherd’s immune system.
Sovereign Laboratories Colostrum-LD
Health Benefits of Colostrum
If you don’t have time to dive into the details of how supplementing with grass-fed bovine colostrum can improve your health, below is a brief overview of its benefits:
- Immune support. The active compounds in bovine colostrum, including lactoferrin and immunoglobulins, have been shown to help reduce inflammation and promote immune health.
- Gut repair. The various growth factors in colostrum can help stimulate the regeneration and proliferation of cells in the gut lining (epithelium). The latter is crucial for preventing toxins and undigested nutrients from entering the bloodstream, where they would be attacked by immune cells (causing inflammation).
- Anti-aging. The insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in bovine colostrum stimulates the repair and growth of DNA and RNA, thus making it a powerful tool in the body’s anti-aging arsenal.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out my article about all the benefits of bovine colostrum supplementation, which goes into the specific scientific rationale and evidence.
Colostrum-LD by Sovereign Laboratories
- Improved absorption and bioavailability.
- Third-party tested for potency.
- Made with pasture-raised cows.
- Responsibly sourced.
- Contains residual amounts of lactose.
- Has been stripped of the natural lipids (fat) that occur in colostrum.
Sovereign Laboratories’ product is unique because it offers what the company calls liposomal delivery, a processing method that encapsulates the colostrum in a shell of fat to prevent it from getting damaged by the acidic and harsh environment inside the stomach.
Additionally, Colostrum-LD is made with colostrum from dairy cows that are pasture-raised in the United States and that haven’t been treated with synthetic growth hormones (rBST) or antibiotics (unless required for medical reasons).
To preserve the sensitive nutrients in this so-called “first milk,” the colostrum used for this supplement is flash pasteurized and dried using low heat.
The combination of those features sets Colostrum-LD apart from most other powdered colostrum products on the market.
Colostrum-LD contains only two ingredients, including pasteurized bovine colostrum and sunflower lecithin. The latter is used to make the shell that protects the nutrients — including the proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs) and growth factors — from the harsh acid inside the stomach.
For a high-quality colostrum supplement to be effective it has to have sufficient amounts of certain micronutrients, including immunoglobulin G (IgG).
Sovereign Laboratories manufactures Colostrum-LD in FDA, GMP and USDA-certified facilities that ensure each serving contains a minimum of 25% IgG, 1.5% lactoferrin, 1.5% growth factors, and between 3.5% and 5% colostrum peptides (PRPs).
One of the ways Sovereign Laboratories ensures this high potency is by collecting the colostrum from mother cows within the first 24 hours of giving birth (but only after the calf’s colostrum requirements were fully met).
Products that contain colostrum collected after the 24-hour window have significantly less of those key nutrients because of the natural transition of colostrum to transition milk and regular milk — a process that takes approximately five days.
One of the biggest issues with colostrum supplements (and many other supplements, for that matter) is getting the bioactive compounds through the GI tract and into the bloodstream.
That’s because the acidic environment of the stomach destroys many of their bioactive ingredients.
Sovereign Laboratories has solved this issue by coating their colostrum powder in fat. The company calls this proprietary process liposomal delivery (“lipo” meaning fat).
While liposomal delivery doesn’t guarantee 100% bioavailability of the encapsulated medication or supplement, it appears to significantly improve it.
At this point, you might be asking yourself how calves absorb essential nutrients from fresh colostrum without a protective coating. Obviously, nature designed (fresh) colostrum in a way that allows calves to fully absorb all the nutrients they require. Potential problems with colostrum’s natural bioavailability and absorbability only arise when humans enter the picture and try to turn the colostrum into a shelf-stable powder.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that the stomachs of cows aren’t as acidic as those of humans. In fact, the entire gastrointestinal tract of ruminants works entirely differently from that of humans. That’s one of the reasons why humans thrive on an animal-based vs. a plant-based diet.
As a result, I do see the benefits of liposomal delivery technology in the absence of processing technology (e.g., freeze-drying) that denatures the colostrum to a lesser degree.
Potential Side Effects
Any medication or supplement has the potential to cause undesirable side effects, and cow colostrum contains residual amounts of milk sugar (lactose) that many adults are sensitive to or don’t tolerate at all.
Sovereign Laboratories added lactase to some (but not all) of its formulas, an enzyme that helps the body break down lactose and thus significantly reduces the risk of GI upset (even if you’re lactose intolerant).
Fun fact: Milk in the grocery store labeled as lactose-free isn’t really free of lactose. The label just means that the manufacturer added lactase to help break down the milk sugar.
The other issue Sovereign Laboratories claims you might experience after starting to supplement with bovine colostrum is a mild cleansing effect, gas or bloating — similar to what you may experience adding probiotics to your lifestyle.
When I started supplementing with Colostrum-LD, I didn’t follow the recommended dosage protocol, which was to slowly increase the dosage over the first few days.
Instead, I took the full amount (2 tablespoons) from day one, and I only experienced mild gas that went away after two or three days. The truth is that I don’t even know for sure if that gas was caused by the colostrum or something I ate.
Colostrum-LD is available in pouches ranging from 6 ounces all the way up to 32 ounces, with a cost of between $39.95 and $179.95 per pouch.
While the 32-ounce pouch seems expensive, it contains 182 servings, resulting in a palatable price of less than $1 per serving. If you decide to sign up for a 30-day or 60-day subscription, you get a 20% discount.
In addition to the different sizes, you can also choose between “regular” and vanilla flavor. I first tried the latter, and it had just a hint of vanilla — it’s not overpowering by any means. So even if you’re not a fan of vanilla (I’m not), you won’t be turned off by its flavor.
We usually have the unflavored version (which tastes like powdered milk) at home, because we can easily mix it into our kids’ food (or our dog’s food) without impacting the taste.
How We Use Colostrum-LD
At the Kummer household, we strategically supplement with Colostrum-LD when the need arises.
For example, when we discovered that our son Lucas (who was born prematurely) suffered from food-sensitivity issues (which resulted in gastrointestinal problems), we gave him two teaspoons of bovine colostrum every day in addition to removing the offending foods.
The protein in certain foods can negatively influence the permeability of the gut, leading to what’s known as a leaky gut and an excessive immune response that can cause inflammation, allergies and other issues. The nutrients found in colostrum can help heal a leaky gut (as I explain in more detail in this article).
That allowed the irritated lining inside of his gut to heal quicker, while improving his immune function (which is directly connected to the health of the digestive tract).
Additionally, we also gave Colostrum-LD to our German shepherd when he showed signs of an overactive immune system, resulting in frequent yeast and skin infections (likely caused by allergens from the environment or the food he had been eating). Much like with Lucas, we started a process of elimination while offering him colostrum to improve his immune health.
I also supplement with Colostrum-LD on a semi-regular basis to support my body with repairing damaged DNA and its natural anti-aging countermeasures. I’m 40 years old as of this writing and frequently expose my body to elevated levels of stress caused by my job, intense exercise and other lifestyle factors. To me, supplementing with colostrum is an excellent way to support my regular wellness routine and healthcare.
Colostrum-LD Frequently Asked Questions
While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that colostrum can reduce the rate of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., rotavirus infections) in babies and children, I’ve only seen one case report to suggest that adults might benefit too.
Yes, you certainly can. There is plenty of evidence suggesting that bovine colostrum offers most of the same benefits to animals as it does to humans.
In fact, colostrum supplementation appears to be a popular treatment method for companion animals among veterinarians.
We used Colostrum-LD with our German shepherd when he was a puppy and suffered from frequent allergies and skin infections.
Yes, you can give Colostrum-LD to kids of all ages as a supplement (I highly recommend talking with your pediatrician or lactation consultant first).
What I don’t recommend is giving your infant Colostrum-LD instead of human breast milk. In other words, don’t stop breastfeeding your baby because you have access to Colostrum-LD.
If you have a “thumbs up” from your pediatrician to supplement with Colostrum-LD, Sovereign Laboratories sells an infant and toddler version of its product.
Note that the kid version is the exact same formula as the adult version; it’s just the packaging and serving size recommendations that differ.
If your lifestyle is similar to mine and you’re already doing most things right to support your health and well-being, then you might not benefit from supplementing with colostrum (unless your goal is to improve your athletic performance).
However, if you’re immunocompromised or suffer from autoimmune or metabolic conditions that negatively impact your immune system, you may benefit from Colostrum-LD while also making improvements to your overall lifestyle.
Don’t think of Colostrum-LD (or any other supplement, for that matter) as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on my blog, dietary supplements are meant (as the name implies) to supplement an otherwise healthy lifestyle — not to replace it.
Based on the scientific evidence I’ve seen, bovine colostrum can help alleviate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory GI issues.
In one randomized placebo-controlled study in adults suffering from colitis, bovine colostrum correlated with a significant reduction in pain after only four weeks.
Yes, you can definitely include Colostrum-LD as part of your ketogenic diet, because each serving has less than one gram of carbs.
While human colostrum is definitely paleo, dairy products (including Colostrum-LD) are not. However, many people who follow a Paleolithic diet consume certain dairy products, such as butter and cheese. If you’re one of them, you can certainly include Colostrum-LD as well.
Technically, Colostrum-LD is neither paleo nor carnivore friendly.
But, as with paleo diets, many followers of carnivore diets consume dairy products and feel great doing so. If you’re one of them, feel free to supplement with Colostrum-LD.
For reference, I used to follow a Paleolithic ketogenic diet that included mostly pastured meats, pasture raised eggs and a few plants, and I supplemented with Colostrum-LD.
While Colostrum-LD isn’t a probiotic in the traditional sense, they appear to have symbiotic benefits. For example, colostrum makes it easier for good bacteria (probiotics) to colonize the gut while deterring bad bacteria from gaining a foothold.
Yes, Colostrum-LD (and colostrum in general) is naturally gluten-free.
Yes, Colostrum-LD contains both whey and casein protein and their building blocks (amino acids).
Yes, Colostrum-LD contains several types of antibodies, including IgA and IgG.
Colostrum-LD: The Best Colostrum Supplement?
The best and most effective way to supplement with bovine colostrum is to drink it fresh. But unless you own a bunch of calving cows or know someone who does, that’s rather difficult to accomplish.
Using high-quality powdered supplements such as the ones Sovereign Laboratories makes is a good alternative to fresh colostrum, especially if you have a compromised immune system or suffer from gastrointestinal issues.
Of course, fixing severe immune or GI issues takes more work than using a supplement.
I do a lot of different things to make sure my immune system is working optimally, including eating a healthy diet devoid of plant toxins and processed carbs, exercising regularly, protecting my sleep, managing my stress and using a few supplements, including freeze-dried beef liver and bovine colostrum.
So it’s difficult to say which part of my healthy lifestyle contributes most to the strength of my immune system.
That also means that I don’t know for certain which of the supplements I use don’t make a significant difference.
As far as bovine colostrum is concerned, I strongly believe that it has a lot of potential and it should be worth your consideration — especially if you’re still on a journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
Personally, I keep supplementing with bovine colostrum during the cold and flu season to further reduce my risk of infection (especially after intense CrossFit workouts).
Now I’d like to hear from you! Did you know about colostrum supplements, and what are your thoughts on them? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Michael is a healthy living enthusiast and CrossFit athlete whose goal is to help people achieve optimal health by bridging the gap between ancestral living and the demands of modern society.