Man doing shuttle runs in football boots on football pitch exercise training

Colostrum for Athletic Performance

Colostrum for Athletic Performance

We’ve spoken about colostrum about a couple of times before, and all about why we think (and know) that it is an invaluable supplement when it comes to providing emergency immune system support.

So, first of all, if you haven’t read that article, then we highly recommend you do (once you’ve finished reading this one of course) and you can check it out by clicking on this link – from there you will find all you need to know about supporting your immune system with colostrum and other important supplements this winter.


So, what is colostrum?

Excellent question! Colostrum is a nutrient-dense first drink produced by mammals for their new-born and contains essential nutrients including growth factors, antibodies and lactoferrin to promote growth and regulate immune responses.

As the very ‘food’ that a mammal will receive it is absolutely vital that this contains all the essential nutrients that they will need to kickstart their life. But that doesn’t mean that the nutrients therein aren’t still useful as a mammal grows older. In fact, we would say that they are just as useful as we get older for ongoing support to a whole host of body systems.

We know already that taking a colostrum supplement has been shown to be beneficial for your immune system (see our previous article linked above and below), but did you know that it has also been shown to be incredibly useful for supporting athletic performance, endurance, and recovery!

We no longer stock our Active Colostrum product but if you are still looking for a way to boost your immune system then why not check out our Active Greens superfood blend as well as our Active Vitamin D3


Colostrum for athletic performance


We’ve spoken about it before, exercise and physical activity is hard. It requires a lot of energy to be expended and demands a lot of nutrients and support in return to ensure that we can do it all over again tomorrow.

Whey protein, creatine, collagen, and electrolytes are all widely researched, and science backed supplements to support exercise recovery. But did you know that colostrum can also play an important role in this process too!

Early research evidence is pointing towards the idea that colostrum is especially useful for endurance-based athletes who are more interested in developing and maintaining lean muscle mass and enhancing physical performance – this can include cyclists, runners, triathletes, cross country skiers and everything else in between.

But not only that, it has only shown to be useful for athletes that take part in sports and activities that require high anaerobic power output such as weightlifting and combat sports.

In one study conducted in a group of highly conditioned cyclists, a comparison was made in the cycling performance of a group supplementing with 20g colostrum, a group supplementing with just 60g whey protein versus a group supplementing with 20g colostrum and 40g whey protein powder.

The greatest increase in endurance was seen in the final group who were supplanting with both colostrum and whey protein powder. But it’s not just the performance benefit that makes colostrum an attractive supplement option; it also positively supports the recovery process too.

Early studies are suggesting that colostrum can help your body recover and get back to your previous performance levels after just 20 minutes – but more research is needed to determine when and how this will be most applicable for you and me. 

It is worth noting that due to the strenuous nature of exercise and the nutrient demands during the recovery process, all these studies are showing that you will need to have a daily intake of 20g of colostrum, for a minimum of 8 weeks, to see and feel best results.


Especially for those of us in the northern hemisphere (or maybe just those of us in the UK) extreme heat isn’t usually an issue we are worried about. But one of the most interesting potential benefits of colostrum supplementation is that it may play a critical role in preventing or at least reducing the severity of heat stroke or heat stress and other related symptoms – especially when as a result of intense physical activity in heat and humidity.

Heat stroke occurs partly due to the increased permeability of the intestinal lining which increases the concentration of toxins in the bloodstream. The heat from the external environment and as a by-product of exercise means that your body must try and process more toxins than it usually would which can lead to symptoms of heat stroke such as:

  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy
  • cramps in the arms, legs, and stomach
  • fast breathing or heartbeat
  • a high temperature
  • being very thirsty
  • weakness


Bovine colostrum has been shown to reduce the permeability of the gut and gut lining that is usually brought on by intense exercise and therefore may reduce the impact of heat stroke. Another bonus is that colostrum, by reducing the permeability of the gut, may also be useful for endurance runners and athletes that have experienced certain gut related ‘accidents’ whilst out running. We think we’ll just leave that one there – doesn’t need any more explaining than that!


Contrary to previous belief, it looks more and more like colostrum can be taken as a daily nutritional supplement to support your immune system, develop and maintain lean muscle mass, and help your body recover from physical activity and exercise.


We had previously recommended that colostrum is best taken only when absolutely necessary, to bolster the immune system at the earliest signs of fatigue, sickness, or infection. However, we’re learning more and more that colostrum has many applications for people and is best taken as a daily supplement just like you would with collagen.

Only this time, to continually support your immune and general health and wellbeing. It is also becoming more and more common for athletes and active people to take colostrum to help their stomach during peak athletic activity and to help the body with lean muscle growth.

Now this next bit we fall foul to sometimes as it can be easy to just concentrate on the globulin proteins found in colostrum, such as Immunoglobin which is the primary active component of bovine colostrum. But there are so many factors in colostrum which further support the immune support and athletic performance.

These can be broken down into 4 categories: Cytokines, Growth Factors, Immune Factors and other Nutrients

  • Cytokines include Colony Stimulating Factors, Interferon Y, Interleukin 1B.

Cytokines are cells of the immune system and interact with other cells to modulate immune system function and response.

  • Growth Factors include EGF, IGF 1 and IGF 2.

Growth Factors are exactly what they say on the tin. They are molecules capable of stimulating cellular processes during development and tissue building and healing. For IGF 1 in particular, this is key protein hormone for the maintenance of bones and other tissues such as muscles. Important for athletes and active people concerned with developing and maintaining muscle mass alongside resistance training.

  • Immune Factors include Lactoferrin, Casein, IgG, IgA, IgM

Immune factors again are exactly what they say on the tin and Lactoferrin (LF) in particular may be an important nutrient to support overall host (that’s you or me) immunity, including as a potent antibacterial and antiviral. Lactoferrin and Immune Factors like IgG are potent peptide molecules that may even prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses such as influenza (flu) or even COVID-19 from attaching to the host cells and causing infection and illness.

Casein is another great example of why bovine colostrum is an invaluable nutritional supplement. Not only is a great source of protein, but it also plays an important role in downregulating inflammatory immune response – the part of our immune response that makes us feel ill (a fever, coughs, colds etc.)

Casein can also be found be found as a standalone food supplement in the form of a protein powder. This is because casein contains the full spectrum of both Essential and Branched Chain Amino Acids critical for muscle protein synthesis. Casein protein is also digested more slowly than other proteins such as whey protein or collagen protein and so is an excellent choice for those wanting a complete protein source in the evening before bedtime or during the day when you may be wanting to reduce the body’s appetite increase feelings of satiety (fullness).

  • Other nutrients include Vitamin A, B12, C, E, Selenium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids which all play an essential role in a whole host of body systems.


Whilst the human body produces all the above on its own, the value of bovine colostrum as a nutritional supplement or functional food as some might call it, is being proven more and more. Bovine colostrum provides the body a constant and high-quality source of all these important factors and elements that it can then use together I concert to provide continual support to your immune system, fighting off infections as well as improve the speed and quality of your exercise recovery.

Here at U Perform, we know that there is no such thing as an overnight success – albeit they may appear that way sometimes – but they are almost always the result of countless hours of training and planning. Every detail obsessed over and so of course the last thing we want to get in the way of our consistency and progress is illness or fatigue.

Supplementing with colostrum is a tasty, convenient, and cost-effective way to maximise your recovery nutrition and get the most out of every single workout.