Super Food: Bovine Colostrum for Horses

All Articles BioStar Products Colostrum GI tract growth factors immune system inflammation

To understand what makes BioStar’s formulation of colostrum for horses so effective, we can start with the star ingredient: bovine colostrum is a unique whole food that contains 97 immune factors, 87 growth factors , plus bioactive proteins, peptides,  prebiotics, and probiotics.

One of the amazing benefits of colostrum is that during acute body imbalances or stresses, colostrum goes to work very quickly, and even some very ill horses may start to show improvement in a number of hours.

To better understand the real benefits of colostrum for horses, it’s important to understand the basics of the immune system.

Two Principle Defenses:

There are two principle immune defense systems: humoral and cellular.   The basis for humoral immunity lies in the lymphocytes found in the liver, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow.   These lymphocytes produce immunoglobins (antibodies) which recognize antigens.  Humoral immunoglobins fight bacterial infections.

The cellular immunity system is responsible for defense against infection due to viruses, fungi, some types of bacteria and cancers.

Immune Factors in Bovine Colostrum:

Among the principle immune factors identified and studied in bovine colostrum are:

Lactoferrin, Transferrin, Cytokines, Lysosyme, Lactoperoxidase, and Transfer Factor.   These immune factors help the action of antibodies and control and modulate the actions of both the humoral and cellular immune defense systems.

The ability to modulate the humoral and cellular immune systems is important because an immune system that is hypersensitive or over active does not need more stimulation.   The immune Factors in colostrum control if necessary the over activity.

Autoimmune diseases, and allergic reactions are situations where the body’s immune system over-responds to antigenic stimulation.  The Immune Factors slow down the overactive response.(1,2,3)

Likewise an immune system that is weak will be stimulated by the Immune Factors. (4,5,6)

Transfer Factors:

Under much study and research, the Transfer Factors include the immunoglobins, which the immune system uses to identify foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.  Bovine colostrum provides the immunglobin IgG, one of the most important antibodies because of its effectiveness against multiple microorganisms, many of who are now resistant to antibiotics.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits:

Colostrum contains interleukin-1ra (IL-1ra)  a receptor protein, which can inactivate the inflammatory activity of certain cytokines.   The Lactoferrin content of colostrum plays a role in the anti inflammatory response through its antioxidant role.  Lactoferrin inhibits lipid peroxidation.   Studies have demonstrated Lactoferrin’s role in controlling the inflammatory cascade.

Additional anti inflammatory support comes from a specific polypeptide called PRP (Proline-rich polypeptide).   These peptides relieve the inflammatory pressures by their action on pro-inflammatory cytokines.   PRP’s support and regulate the thymus gland and establish homeostasis.

The Growth Factors:

Colostrum contains approximately 87 growth factors that include EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), TGF (Trophoblast Growth Factor), IGF (Insulin Growth Factor), FGF (Fibroblast Growth Factor), TGF-a, TGF-b (Transforming Growth Factor) and GH (Growth Hormone) which function primarily in the growth, development, stimulation and maturation of cells, organs, nerves, muscle, and tissues.

Studies have shown that growth factors are capable of increasing T-cell production, balancing blood glucose, increasing muscle and bone growth, and metabolizing fat for energy.    These Growth Factors play a major role in helping repair DNA and RNA.

A specific growth factor: IGF (Insulin Growth Factor) helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  Preliminary studies suggest that IFG  can help  increase the absorption of  Glucosamine Sulphate.

A particular study done at the VA Medical Center in Washington DC (1995) showed that growth factors resulted in maximum stimulation of epithelial outgrowth.  Growth factors in colostrum show great promise in wound healing.(7)

GI Tract Health:

Growth factors also play a role in stimulating growth and repair of the intestinal tract.   The growth factors in colostrum help heal intestinal erosions and ulcerations.

Research at the University Division of Gastroenterology In Leicester England, and published in 1999, demonstrated that colostrum given to rats after administration of NSAIDs reduced  gastric injury by 30%. (8,9)

The Oligosaccharides and Lysozymes present in colostrum support the proliferation of healthy bacteria.

Improving Athletic Performance:

IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor) in colostrum facilitates the transport of glucose to the muscles that helps to maintain consistent energy levels.   Together with the Growth Hormones, IGF-1 slows the rate of protein breakdown (catabolism) that can occur after strenuous training.     IGF-1 increases protein synthesis which results in lean muscle mass.

Studies in 2002 at the University of South Australia, the University of Queensland Australia, and at Numico Research in the Netherlands tracked the effects of colostrum on athletic performance.   These studies showed that colostrum supplementation resulted in shorter recovery times as well as increased anaerobic power in human runners, cyclists, and field hockey players. (10, 11, 12)

Strenuous exercise and training can place tremendous stress on the immune system.

The immune factors and growth factors in colostrum help modulate the immune system.

Antioxidant Protection: Glutathione

BioStar’s colostrum for horses is a whole food source of the super antioxidant Glutathione.   This antioxidant is a regulator and regenerator of immune cells  –it is essential in cellular respiration.  A deficiency of glutathione can cause oxidative stress.    Glutathione participates in the neutralization of free radicals, and reactive oxygen compounds.

Glutathione helps to increase stamina and endurance, lessens muscle fatigue, reduces lactic acid, and muscle stress.(13)

Accelerated Healing:

IGF-1 has shown to improve muscle regeneration in injured muscle, and promote tendon healing.    IGF-1 aids in the proliferation and migration of fibroblasts (the principle nonmotile cells of connective tissues), which subsequently aids in the increased production of collagen. (14, 15)

Other Nutrients:

Bovine colostrum provides vitamins A and D,  the B- Vitamins: B-1 (Thiamine), B-2 (Riboflavin), B-3 (Niacin), B-5 (Pantothenic Acid), B-6 (Pyrodixine), B-12 (Cobalamin), B-13 (Orotic Acid),  Biotin and Folic Acid.     It also provides Vitamin C, along with the minerals: Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Iodine, Magnesium, Choline, Cobalt and Chromium.

The amino acid content of bovine colostrum includes the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), as well as Alanine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid, Histidine, Proline, Lysine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Threonine, Methionine, Serine, Tryptophan, and Phenylalanine.


Colostrum for Horses: All the Benefits

  • Supports and helps to regulate the immune system; important for allergies, auto immune diseases; helps the body combat viruses, and bacteria.   Reduces immune stress on performance horses.
  • Provides antioxidant support, muscle and tissue recovery and healing.
  • Supports the digestive tract, helps heal intestinal mucosa, provides prebiotics for healthy gut microorganisms
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Metabolizes fat
  • Assists in building lean muscle
  • Increases stamina
  • Reduces lactic acid
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps horses recover more quickly from training and competition
  • Supports joint health
  • Assists in wound healing

BioStar’s Bovine Colostrum for Horses:

The bovine colostrum used in BioStar formulas is imported from Canada.   This colostrum is from antibiotic-free, pesticide free and hormone free cows that are grass fed.  The colostrum is collected within the first 12 hours, ensuring potency of both the Immune Factors as well as the Growth Factors.

BioStar’s colostrum is processed using minimal heat to protect the bioavailability of the nutritional factors.

Colostrum is graded by the percentage of globular proteins.  The highest available globular protein content in colostrum is 40%  and the lowest is  15%.  BioStar uses a globular protein of 38%, because a higher globulin percentage is best used only for colostrum replacement for foals. The 38% globulin in BioStar’s colostrum can be used daily or as needed.  The 38% globular protein content of BioStar’s colostrum ensures  potency of the Immune Factors ( including IgG and Transfer Factor) and the Growth Factors (including IGF and GH).

About Globular Proteins:

There are three basic protein groups: globular, fibrous, and membrane proteins.   Globular proteins are soluble in water and therefore in blood plasma, while fibrous protein is not.   Globular protein molecules play many roles: they can be enzymes, act as biological messengers in the form of peptide hormones, and act as biological transport mechanisms in the forms of globulin and serum albumin (blood proteins).

A familiar form of globulin is hemoglobin that transports oxygen, and the immunoglobulins (antibodies).

Although globular proteins are often messengers or transporter proteins they do play a structural role within cells.


Bovine colostrum  is a whole food that is not a miracle or a panacea.   Hundreds of published studies demonstrate that bovine colostrum can play an important role in the health, performance, and well being of horses.

Products: BioStar’s colostrum for horses is available in the following formulas:

Colostrum-38: pure, 38% globular protein bovine colostrum.

Rebound EQ:  contains Colostrum-38 plus active probiotic cultures, prebiotics, and wheat germ for added vitamin E.  Specially designed to help performance and sport horses recover more quickly from training and competition.

Ligatend EQ: contains Colostrum-38 plus additional whole food support for the health of connective tissues



  1. Keech A. 2008. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 119(1): 5260
  2. Nitsch A. 1998. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, vol 13, number 2
  3. Moldoveanu, Zina, et al. 1983.  Antibacterial properties of milk; IgA_ peroxidase –lactoferrin interactions. Annuals of NY Academy of Science, Volume 409; 848-850.
  4. Britigan BE, et al. 1994. The role of lactoferrin as an anti-inflammatory Molecule.  Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 357: 143-156
  5. Gutterage J, Paterson S, Segal A, Halliwell B.  1981.  Inhibition of lipid Peroxidation by the iron-binding protein lactoferrin.  Biochem. Journal. 199: 259-261
  6. Ward PP, et al. 2002.  Lactoferrin and host defense.  Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 80 (1): 95-102
  7. Bhora FY, Durkin BJ, Batzri S, et al.  1995.  Effect of growth factors on cell Proliferation and epitheliatization in human skin.  J Surg Res. Aug; 59 (2) 236-44.
  8. Playford RJ, et al.  1999.  Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which Prevents NASID induced gut damage.  Gut; May. 44 (5): 653-658
  9. Playford RJ, et al. 2001.  Co-administration of the health food supplement Bovine colostrum reduces the acute non steroidal anti inflammatory drug-induced increase in intestinal permeability. Clin Sci (London); 100 (6): 627-633
  10. Buckley JD et al. 2002.  Bovine colostrum supplementation during Endurance running training improves recovery.  Journal of Science Medicine and Sport 5 (2); 65-79
  11. Coombs JS, et al.  2002.  Dose effects of oral bovine colostrum on physical Work capacity in cyclists.  Med Sci Sports Exercise  34 (7); 118
  12.  Hofman Z, et al.  2002.  The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in elite field hockey players.  International Journal of Sports and Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.  12 (4): 461-469
  13. Wadey AL, Muyderman H, Perrin T, et al. May 2009.  Mitochondrial Glutathione uptake: characterization in isolated brain mitochondria and astrocytes in culture.  Journal of Neurochemistry, vol 109; 101-108
  14. Sato K, et al. 2003.  Improvement of muscle healing through enhancement of muscle regeneration and prevention of fibrosis.  Muscle Nerve 28 (3): 365-94.
  15. Molloy T, et al. 2003.  The roles of growth factors in tendon and ligament healing.  Sports Med  33(5); 381-94

Other References:

Blake, Stephen DVM.  July 1999. Bovine Colostrum the forgotten miracle.  Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Vol 18, number 2; 39-40

Peryman, LE, McGuire TC. 1980.  Evaluation of Immune System Failures in Horses and Ponies.  J. Am. Med. Assoc.  June 15;176(12)’1374-7

Stephan W, Diechtelmuller H, and Lissner R. 1990.  Antibodies from colostrum in oral immunotherapy.  J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. Jan; (28 (1):19-23

Leppaluoto J, Rasi S, Martikkala M, et al. 2000.  Bovine colostrum supplementation Enhances physical performance on maximal exercise tests.  Pre-Olympic Congress Sport Medicine and Physical Education. International Congress on Sport Science. Brisbane, Australia. Sept, 7-13.

Griffin F, Hopkin W, Rehrer N, Thomson C, and Walmsley A. 2001.  The effects of Dietary supplementation with bovine colostrum on the training, immunologic Status, and performance of competitive distance runners.  Annual Sport Science New Zealand Conference, Sept 2-30, Wellington New Zealand.

Kuipers H, Van reda E, Verlaan G, and Smeets R. 2002.  Effects of oral bovine Colostrum supplementation on serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels. Nutrition.  July; 18 (7-8): 566

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