Whey, Colostrum and Goat Milk

Back around 1999-2002, the use of whey, colostrum and goat milk for CFS was popular. My wife was positive for EBV and after 2 months of an EBV specific colostrum, became negative. This was a pre-antibiotic treatment: You infect a pregnant cow with infection X and once the cow calved, you collect the milk which will high in antibodies programming against infection X.  This method was far more expensive than antibiotics and did not scale well…. hence it was forgotten once antibiotics came along. Unfortunately, this EBV specific form of colostrum is no longer available.

Colostrum and milk are rich in proteins and peptides which play a crucial role in innate immunity when transferred to the offspring and may accelerate maturation of the immune system in neonates.” [2005]

A reader asked about these, so a fresh look at the literature is done below.

Human versus Cow Milk

The chart below illustrate well the difference [source]. They are VERY different.



Colostrum (known colloquially as beestings,[1]bisnings[2] or first milk) is a form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) during pregnancy. Most species will generate colostrum just prior to giving birth. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease. In general, protein concentration in colostrum is substantially higher than in milk.” [Wikipedia]

It is heavily promoted in some alternative health circles [Example by a provider with citations to studies]


Whey protein is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. [Wikipedia]. As you can see from the figure above, why content varies according to source.

Back in 2000, “Non-denatured Whey” was a hot topic. “Undenatured whey protein isn’t heat-treated, so the fragile bonded cysteines that later form glutathione aren’t broken down in pasteurization.”[source] — so no pasturization (or homogenization) so the chemical structures of the whey are not damaged. At a philosophical level, this appears logical.

Other Non-Cow Milks

Looking at other milks, we find that Goat’s milk has less β-lactoglobulin (closer to human milk in a weak sense).


“Because an increase in the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio is considered to be an indirect indication of increased brain serotonin function, the results suggest that dietary protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable subjects via increased brain tryptophan and serotonin activities.” [2002]

” The main components of whey proteins in camel milk and colostrum were similar to that in bovine, except for the lack in β-lactoglobulin.” [2007]

Bottom Line

There are no PubMed studies on whey and CFS/FM/IBS. There was one study for FM and one for IBS, one for CFS (by a questionable author – conflict of interests)

  • “The objective of this clinical pilot study was to examine the induction of apoptosis in mononuclear cells on treatment of patients with chronic pain syndrome with oral immunoglobulin produced from bovine colostrum (BCC)….These results were accompanied by a relief of the pain symptoms [in 3 out of 4 patients]” [2009]
  • “After 4 weeks (i.e. immediately after treatment), the endotoxin levels of [IBS] patients in the colostrum group showed a decrease in 44.4% (4/9) patients, no interval change in 11.1% (1/9) patients, and an increase in 44.4% (4/9) patients.” [2014] – helps some, makes other worst!
  • Inconclusive (but positive) study for Gastrointestinal Infections[2008]

I would recommend trying them, especially the high alpha-lactalbumin whey Isolate because of it’s impact on cognitive function and also improvement of sleep.  Please be aware that results are mixed — it’s a for better or for worst supplement.

I wish the infection specific colostrum were still available, and would love to see one specific for staphylococcus aureus [post].