Bovine colostrum supplementation during running training increases intestinal permeability

Nutrients. 2009 Feb;1(2):224-34. doi: 10.3390/nu1020224. Epub 2009 Dec 2.


Endurance exercise training can increase intestinal permeability which may contribute to the development of gastrointestinal symptoms in some athletes. Bovine colostrum (BC) supplementation reduces intestinal permeability induced by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This study aimed to determine whether BC could also reduce intestinal permeability induced by endurance exercise. Thirty healthy adult males (25.0 ± 4.7 yr; mean ± SD) completed eight weeks of running three times per week for 45 minutes at their lactate threshold while consuming 60 g/day of BC, whey protein (WP) or control (CON). Intestinal permeability was assessed at baseline and after eight weeks by measuring the ratio of urinary lactulose (L) and rhamnose (R) excretion. After eight weeks the L/R ratio increased significantly more in volunteers consuming BC (251 ± 140%) compared with WP (21 ± 35%, P < 0.05) and CON (-7 ± 13%, P < 0.02). The increase in intestinal permeability with BC may have been due to BC inducing greater leakiness of tight junctions between enterocytes or by increasing macromolecular transport as it does in neonatal gut. Further research should investigate the potential for BC to increase intestinal macromolecular transport in adults.

Keywords: exercise; gut permeability; intestinal transport; lactulose; rhamnose.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Colostrum*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Permeability
  • Physical Endurance
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sports
  • Whey Proteins
  • Young Adult


  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins