Gastrointestinal problems generally occur very frequently in high-performance athletes and especially endurance athletes. For this reason, the study recently published by an English working group is particularly interesting for us. It impressively underlines the protective potential of colostrum / colostrum on the gastric and intestinal mucosa and the importance of a “leaky gut syndrome” for the development of gastrointestinal symptoms in athletes. The results of the study make me very satisfied and confident, because I have often emphasized this effect of Biestmilch, which was already known from the fields of medicine, with athletes, but I received little response. Perhaps this will change now.
The task of the gastrointestinal tract is not only to digest food, its mucous membranes are selective, highly active communicators between the outside world and the inside of the body. In endurance performance you walk a fine line, on the one hand taking in food components and on the other hand keeping out those connections that could endanger the balance of the body and thus the well-being. It is extremely important to know that under normal circumstances, well-tolerated nutrients can turn into substances that can cause gastrointestinal problems under heavy stress. Carbohydrates are a good example of this. Too high a concentration taken over a very short period of time can be harmful and lead to gastrointestinal problems. Whether a substance is a friend or an enemy at a certain point in time depends on how stressful the respective microenvironment is. If the activity of the stress system is very high, then this has a decisive influence on the permeability of the intestinal mucosa.
The permeability of the gastric and intestinal mucosa is very sensitive to various stress factors. Pronounced disturbances at this interface trigger an immune response which, if the control mechanisms of the immune system or stress system are weakened, can lead to an inflammatory process with consequences. The stress factors that change the permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa to varying degrees include illness, pH value shifts, extreme sporting activity, cell lesions due to increased body temperature, but also alcohol consumption or the composition of food. mmunmolecules such as Cytokines are released and carry, among other things, helps the overall permeability of the stomach and intestines to increase, especially during and after running, this phenomenon is particularly pronounced. Then substances can penetrate through the cell tissue that otherwise could not penetrate there. The permeability changes in such a way that larger molecules slip through, which then reach the blood or lymph vessels and thus enter the great circulation.
The situation of the athlete in particular Various stress factors affect the stability and resistance of the intestinal border
Prolonged, exhausting exertion, heat stress or medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (painkillers very common among athletes) are just some of the many stress factors that affect the functioning of the mucous membrane. If the integrity of the stomach or intestines is disturbed, then regardless of the cause, it is associated with increased permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa. In addition to exogenous irritation, a reduced blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract, hormonal changes and increased body temperature lead to permeability disorders. Symptoms that plague the athletes are cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea and bleeding, common problems for endurance athletes and especially for long distance athletes such as triathletes.
Today we know that a dysregulated stress system with the following “leaky gut syndrome” is significantly involved in the development of these symptoms. However, the detailed scientific elucidation of the processes underlying these gastrointestinal disorders is still a long way off. I have already briefly mentioned hypotheses that try to explain the symptoms above. The “leaky gut syndrome” summarizes all the phenomena that can be attributed to increased intestinal permeability. The physiology behind it is complex: a reduction in blood flow during physical exertion, pH shifts, an increased core temperature, shear forces due to movement, increased release of free oxygen radicals, activation of immune cells and release of immune factors, an overactive autonomic nervous system and much more . Very intensive training and of course the competitions activate the stress system. The activity of the autonomic (sympathetic) nervous system increases. Stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and hormones that regulate the fluid balance (vasopressin) change their release and activity profiles. The activity of the immune system changes at the level of the cells as well as the released molecules (cytokines etc.). If the interplay of this multitude of regulatory processes takes place in an uncontrolled manner, and if the strict temporal coordination is lost, then, depending on the extent of the regulatory disorders, mild or severe disorders of gastrointestinal function occur. The phenomenon of a “leaky gut”, a disturbed permeability of the gastric and intestinal mucosa, is usually always present when there are symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.
Is colostrum a natural product with the amazing potential of stabilizing the gastrointestinal mucosa and making it more stress-resistant.
The pharmacological options for treating the symptoms, let alone the causes, are very limited, especially in competitive sports, so there is increasing interest in natural substances. One such substance is beef colostrum (Biestmilch). Playford and his colleagues have now designed a study to find out whether Biestmilch can have a positive effect on the permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa.
Biestmilch / Colostrum is particularly rich in immunoglobulins, antimicrobial peptides (e.g. lactoeferrin, lactoperoxidase) and other bioactive molecules such as growth factors, which are essential for cell regeneration. Raymon J. Playford showed several years ago that a commercially available colostrum preparation * can protect against lesions in the upper gastrointestinal tract induced by NSAID **. It has long been suspected that Biestmilch / Colostrum is able to modulate the regulatory disorders in the gastric and intestinal mucosa that occur in the context of high-performance sport and endurance sport, but no evidence has yet been given.
Playford’s group has now published a study that provides the first evidence of the effects of oral cow colostrum (colostrum) on intestinal permeability. The subjects had to exert themselves until a movement-related increase in temperature and a stress-related shift in the intestinal hormone profiles could be demonstrated. These previously performed exercise units then determined the duration of exercise during the study and the parameters that were selected for measurement. In addition to the studies on test subjects, experiments were also carried out with various intestinal mucosal cell lines. In this way, the processes underlying the protective effect of colostrum / colostrum could be analyzed more precisely. The cells became stressors such as exposed to elevated temperatures to which the intestinal cells of athletes are also exposed. This was done with and without the addition of Colostrum / Biestmilch. Different parameters critical for cell function were investigated.
Brief summary of the study results
The results were amazing and will hopefully motivate others to take this substance seriously and conduct further studies. All results strongly suggest that Biestmilch / Colostrum increases the stress resistance of the epithelial cells. The cells showed themselves to be more temperature resistant. Cell death was significantly reduced. In summary, the studies show that Biestmilch / Colostrum contributes to maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa in a physiologically relevant stress model. Further studies, which observe test subjects over a longer period of time under heavy stress and in extreme heat, seem justified in order to re-examine and confirm the effectiveness of colostrum / colostrum for endurance athletes proven in this study.