Use of the 'nutriceutical', bovine colostrum, for the treatment of distal colitis: results from an initial study

Background: Bovine colostrum is a rich source of nutrients, antibodies and growth factors.

Aim: To examine the efficacy of colostrum enemas in the treatment of distal colitis using a randomized, double-blind, controlled protocol.

Methods: Fourteen patients (eight female), with a mean age of 45 years (range, 16-75 years) and mild to moderately severe distal colitis (Powell-Tuck scoring system), received colostrum enema (100 mL of 10% solution) or placebo (albumin solution) b.d. for 4 weeks. Both groups also received mesalazine (1.6 g/day) or, if already taking it, had a dose increment of 1.6 g/day. Disease activity was documented at 0, 2 and 4 weeks.

Results: After 4 weeks, the colostrum group showed a mean reduction in symptom score of - 2.9 (95% confidence interval (CI), - 5.4 to - 0.3), whereas the placebo group showed a mean response of + 0.5 (95% CI, - 2.4 to +3.4). The histological score improved in five of the eight patients in the colostrum group (mean response, - 0.9; 95% CI, - 1.69 to - 0.03), whereas the histological scores only improved in two of the six patients in the placebo group (mean response, 0.2; 95% CI, - 2.4 to +2.6).

Conclusions: Bovine colostrum enema shows potential as a novel therapy for left-sided colitis with additional benefits over using mesalazine alone. Further studies appear to be warranted.