Colostrum and milk-derived peptide growth factors for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jul;72(1):5-14. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.1.5.


Colostrum is the specific first diet of mammalian neonates and is rich in immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides, and growth factors. In this article we review some of these constituents of human and bovine colostrum in comparison with those of mature milk. Recent studies suggest that colostral fractions, or individual peptides present in colostrum, might be useful for the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug-induced gut injury, and chemotherapy-induced mucositis. We therefore discuss the therapeutic possibilities of using whole colostrum, or individual peptides present in colostrum, for the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases and the relative merits of the 2 approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Growth Substances / isolation & purification
  • Growth Substances / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Peptides / isolation & purification
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy


  • Growth Substances
  • Peptides