Colostrum for preterm infants

Created on

Mother’s own milk is the optimal diet for preterm infants, but is often in limited supply. So what to do? The best solution seems to be colostrum. NEOMUNE demonstrated the beneficial effects. NEOCOL is optimizing the procedure.


Common procedure

Mother’s own milk is by far the optimal diet for preterm infants, but it is often in limited supply, unavailable, or deficient in nutrients. The common practice on Danish hospitals and clinics have been to use human donor milk as diet supplement. However, donor milk is from later in lactation and has a lower content of bioactive ingredients compared to colostrum, is not available on every hospitals, and is very costly. Another alternative is infant formulas, but studies from NEOMUNE shows them to be associated with more gut problems, infections and neurological complications. Neither donor milk nor infant formula thus seems to represent the optimal first feeding for preterm infants.


Bovine colostrum as all-inclusive

Colostrum is the very first milk produced by the mammalian mother and contains high amounts of bioactive factors compared to mature milk from later in lactation. The colostrum is essential for the final development and maturation of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system in newborns. Especially, colostrum from cows contains extremely high amounts of several bioactive factors, nutrients and minerals, as it has evolved to provide the calf with all the necessary compounds to mature both its immune and gastrointestinal system. It is literally an all-inclusive diet for the calf.


Even though the composition of the bovine colostrum is optimized for the calf’s needs, most of the important components are more or less similar to those found in human colostrum. So luckily, colostrum is not species-specific and can benefit neonates from other species than the producer.



NEOMUNE demonstrated the beneficial effects from bovine colostrum as diet supplements for preterm pigs used as model for preterm infants and proved the safety and tolerability of bovine colostrum used as diet supplement for preterm infants. 


The follow up-project NEOCOL now develops a Danish special produced bovine colostrum diet supplement for preterm infants the first weeks after birth. The aim is to provide documentation for an optimal high quality, cost-effective Danish colostrum product to be used as a first feed, diet supplement or human milk fortifier. This should promote gastrointestinal health, immune defense and brain development, improve organ functions, help mature the intestinal epithelium in premature children and improve the nutritional care for preterm infants worldwide.


You can find the results on the use of bovine colostrum as diet supplement for preterms here.


Cow-colostrum from us

Biofiber-Damino A/S (the sister company to Biodane Pharma A/S) is an industrial partner in NEOCOL as well as NEOMUNE. The colostrum used in the projects NEOCOL and NEOMUNE is the colostrum powder product produced on our own diary with our specialized patented technology.


We are happy to support important vital research with the potential to improve the nutritional care for preterm infants worldwide.