Colostrum against oral mucositis

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Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) receiving bovine colostrum as dietary supplementation and prophylactic protection showed significantly lower scores in the degree of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis than placebo group.


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children. Mortality rates are very low and still decreasing, but nearly all patients suffer from serious infections and chemotherapy-induced toxicity. Mucositis is common in these patients and may affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. However, treatment schemes for children are limited to oral care protocols and highly specific disease settings.


Bovine colostrum contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial factors, and holds the potential to neutralize toxins. Supplementation may thus help to reduce chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal toxicity, e.g. mucositis during induction treatment for childhood ALL. You can read more about the different bioactive factors in bovine colostrum here: Contents of bovine colostrum.


In this study, 62 pediatric patients were included in a 2‐center, randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled clinical trial. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either bovine colostrum or a placebo supplement. The supplementation started from the first day of chemotherapy and was administered until day 29 or the end of the therapy.


Patients receiving bovine colostrum showed significantly lower peak scores for oral mucositis, compared with patients in the placebo group. In addition, the peak weekly self-reported oral mucositis score was overall significantly lower in the colostrum group. No difference was observed for number of days with fever, neutropenic fever, intravenous antibiotics, or incidence of bacteremia.


There seems to be no other studies so far on the use of bovine colostrum as dietary supplement for children or adults for the prevention of gastrointestinal chemotherapy-induced toxicity. Other studies have used nutrition with added milk proteins and provides results that also points to the potential of bovine colostrum as a possible intervention against chemotherapy-induced mucositis.


Further studies on bovine colostrum supplementation focusing specifically on mucositis should be conducted to confirm the findings and assess the mechanisms behind.


You can find the article here: Bovine colostrum against chemotherapy‐induced gastrointestinal toxicity in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled trial.