Saturday, February 3, 2018

Colostrum vs. 2'FL: What you Need to Know

Colostrum is being touted by some sources as the "best" thing for gut health.  But there are some things to be aware of.

First of all, colostrum products are not derived from human sources, but bovine.  Cows, of course, have radically different GI function compared to humans, and bovine colostrum is different in its composition compared to human colostrum.  While there is some evidence that bovine colostrum can have some benefit in humans, it also must be pointed out that commercially available colostrum products also typically contain milk proteins, which would rule them out for people with milk allergies.  

There is also an ethical consideration to "true" colostrum pertaining to mother's "first milk." Some feel an ethical consideration whereby that "first milk" be saved for the feeding calf and not harvested for commercial use. This is an animal rights issue, as well as ultimately a human health issue, since beef raised without the benefit of colostrum can be less healthy.

Therefore, some companies have chosen to avoid this kind of product and go instead with products that are colostrum-like or contain ingredients that provide some of the same healing properties, but without the milk proteins and without the ethical concerns.

Biopure ProteinTM, for example, is not colostrum, but colostrum-like in that there is higher immunoglobulin content and special processing to preserve these immunoglobulins. These milk-derived immune proteins are as high in concentration as colostrum, and, in some cases, can be even higher, because the immunoglobulins can vary with the seasons.

Another choice is the human milk oligosaccaride (HMO), 2' fucosyllacstose, or 2'FL.  This new and novel ingredient is considered an HMO because it is an oligosaccaride bioidentical to the ones found in HUMAN breast milk.  

Colostrum is the first secretion of milk produced by the mammary glands in late pregnancy and a few days after giving birth, used as ‘first feeding’ of the infant.  2’FL is found in human colostrum as it is a naturally occurring component of human breast milk (one of the most abundant HMOs). It is an important prebiotic and anti-adhesion compound. (Human colostrum, by the way, is not available as a dietary supplement.  At least we hope not!)

The researh on 2'FL is piling up, showing that it has potent antimicrobial properties, as well as providing fuel for the growth and proliferation of probiotic bacteria, thus helping to establish a healthy microbiota.  

A 6-week study on the functional food product, UltraGI Replenish, studied on patients with a history of IBS and IBD (but not acute during the time of the study) showed that 7 of 8 pathogenic bacteria were no longer detectable at the end of the six weeks, and bifidobacteria went wild, increasing 19-fold!  SCFAs also increased significantly, in addition to the improvements of several other gut biomarkers.  Symptoms and quality of life scores also improved dramatically.1 

There is no shortage of players in nature's pharmacy for gut health, and 2'FL appears to be one of the most promising ingredients on the market to emerge in a long time.   

1. A Medical Food (UGIR) Reduces Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Beneficially Alters Gut Microbiota in Adults with IBS and IBD
A Multi-Clinic, Open-Label Study, MET2151 070516 © 2016 Metagenics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.