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Sunday, 22 July, 2001, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Milk eases stomach injuries
The cow colostrum can help ease stomach problems
Special cow's milk, produced during the first days after giving birth, can be used to treat common stomach disorders.

Scientists based in the Hammersmith Hospital, London and Leicester General Hospital, discovered that bovine colostrum can treat a number of gut complaints.

They say the special milk could end up saving thousands of lives each year.

Studies are already underway to see whether colostrum can help patients with ulcerative colitis, a severe inflammatory condition of the large bowel.

This human study appears to confirm the belief that it may be a very worthwhile treatment for many children and adults with specific gut disorders

Professor Ray Playford

Eases side effects

Initial tests have shown that at least one of the proteins available in colostrum can help.

Professor Ray Playford, consultant and ICSM professor of gastroenterology at the Hammersmith Hospital, said the milk had proved particularly good at helping tackle problems caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

These can attack the stomach lining and cause gastric bleeding and can affect as many as 2% of the UK population.

Each year 2,000 people die from the side effects of these drugs on the stomach.

Colostrum, which is a by-product of milk, is currently available in health food shops in liquid and tablet forms, marketed as go-faster supplements.

Professor Playford stressed that all the milk was taken from BSE free herds

Irish folk lore has long lauded the effects of the drink and they have a milk pudding made out of colostrum.

Professor Playford said: "It is clear that colostrum could offer patients a greater choice in treating a wide range of unpleasant, and sometimes life-threatening gut problems.

"This human study appears to confirm the belief that it may be a very worthwhile treatment for many children and adults with specific gut disorders."

"It is a natural food product and I thought it was worth looking at and it is an exciting discovery."

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