Bovine colostrum supplementation during endurance running training improves recovery, but not performance

J Sci Med Sport. 2002 Jun;5(2):65-79. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(02)80028-7.


This study examined the effect of supplementation with concentrated bovine colostrum protein powder (intact) on plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations, endurance running performance and recovery. Thirty physically active males completed 8 weeks of running training whilst consuming 60 g x day(-1) of intact powder (n=17) or a concentrated whey protein powder placebo (n=13) in a randomised, double-blind, parallel design. Plasma IGF-I concentrations were measured prior to subjects performing two (approximately 30 min) incremental treadmill running tests to exhaustion (RUN1 and RUN2) separated by 20 min of passive recovery at Weeks 0. 4 and 8. Plasma IGF-I concentrations showed little change in either group (p=0.83). Effective peak running speed (PRSE; i.e. equivalent of peak power) during RUN1 was not different between groups at Week 0 (p>0.99), and had increased by a similar amount in both groups by Week 4 (mean+/-SD, intact 2.2+/-4.0%, placebo 3.2+/-3.3%; 95% confidence interval [95% CI 15.7 to -13.7%; p=0.89) and Week 8 (intact 3.6+/-5.6%, placebo 3.4+/-4.4 %; 95% CI -100.0 to 100.0%; p>0.99). PRSE was less in both groups during RUN2 (p<0.05), but was not significantly different between groups at Week 0 (p>0.99). PRSE during RUN2 tended to have increased more in the placebo group by Week 4 (intact 1.8+/-4.8%, placebo 4.2+/-3.9%; 95% CI 0.2 to -5 0%; p=0.07), but the intact group had increased PRSE significantly more by Week 8 (intact 4.6+/-6.1%, placebo 2.0+/-4.5%; 95% Cl 0.0 to 5.2%; p=0.05). resulting in a significantly faster PRSE (p=0.003). We conclude that supplementation with intact powder did not increase plasma IGF-I concentrations or improve performance during an initial bout of incremental running to exhaustion in our sample. However, performance during a second bout of exercise may be improved by as much as 5.2% in the average subject after 8 weeks of supplementation, possibly due to an enhancement of recovery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Colostrum*
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Running*
  • Task Performance and Analysis


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I