Oral Supplementation with Bovine Colostrum Decreases Intestinal Permeability and Stool Concentrations of Zonulin in Athletes

Nutrients. 2017 Apr 8;9(4):370. doi: 10.3390/nu9040370.


Increased intestinal permeability has been implicated in various pathologies, has various causes, and can develop during vigorous athletic training. Colostrum bovinum is a natural supplement with a wide range of supposed positive health effects, including reduction of intestine permeability. We assessed influence of colostrum supplementation on intestinal permeability related parameters in a group of 16 athletes during peak training for competition. This double-blind placebo-controlled study compared supplementation for 20 days with 500 mg of colostrum bovinum or placebo (whey). Gut permeability status was assayed by differential absorption of lactulose and mannitol (L/M test) and stool zonulin concentration. Baseline L/M tests found that six of the participants (75%) in the colostrum group had increased intestinal permeability. After supplementation, the test values were within the normal range and were significantly lower than at baseline. The colostrum group Δ values produced by comparing the post-intervention and baseline results were also significantly lower than the placebo group Δ values. The differences in stool zonulin concentration were smaller than those in the L/M test, but were significant when the Δ values due to intervention were compared between the colostrum group and the placebo group. Colostrum bovinum supplementation was safe and effective in decreasing of intestinal permeability in this series of athletes at increased risk of its elevation.

Keywords: colostrum supplementation; intestinal permeability; stool zonulin concentration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Athletes
  • Biological Products / adverse effects
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Cholera Toxin / analysis
  • Cholera Toxin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cholera Toxin / metabolism
  • Cholera Toxin / toxicity
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Freeze Drying
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Haptoglobins
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Martial Arts
  • Poisons / analysis
  • Poisons / chemistry
  • Poisons / metabolism
  • Poisons / toxicity
  • Poland
  • Protein Precursors
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Toxicokinetics


  • Biological Products
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Haptoglobins
  • Poisons
  • Protein Precursors
  • zonulin
  • Cholera Toxin